Conference celebrating woodlands to shine a light on productivity, collaboration and innovation

07 September 2018

Woodland conference 2018

It’s an exciting time for woodlands in the South East.

And the dynamics of the sector will be championed and explored when landowners, managers and organisations from across the region flock to the CLA’s annual woodland management conference next month.

CLA South East, in partnership with the Forestry Commission and Grown in Britain, and supported by Pryor & Rickett Silviculture and Forest Holidays, will hold the event on Thursday 11 October at Newbury Racecourse in Berkshire.

The conference runs from 8.30am (for a 9.15am start) to 3.30pm, and has the themes of ‘productivity, collaboration and innovation’. It has been timed to take place during Grown in Britain Week, a national initiative to boost the UK timber industry and increase awareness of sustainable forestry and woodland’s role in construction, education, renewable energy and social enterprises.

It comes at an important time for the sector. The Government is looking at a support structure which focuses public money on the provision of public goods. This has the potential to really raise the profile of forestry, but is the industry prepared?

The conference will:

  •  Review the current position of timber markets in the South East
  •  Highlight ways to improve the productivity of existing hardwoods
  • Assess how collaboration can boost productivity and performance
  • Showcase options to quantify the wider benefits offered by woods
  • Demonstrate how innovation is adding value to the timber we grow.

Speakers include John Cardwell from Nando’s who will set out the importance of using homegrown timber, Ian McNally from English Woodlands who will discuss the power of digital marketing, and Chris Reynolds from Forest Research who will explore species choice for productivity and resilience.

There will also be presentations and talks from groups and organisations including Grown in Britain, the Small Woods Association, the Forestry Commission and Vastern Timber.

During the afternoon, a series of practical workshops will be held on the CLA’s Land Management Contract, tree health and Grown in Britain licences. We will also be running a tech hub area featuring stands and exhibits from relevant companies and organisations.

CLA South East represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses in Berkshire, Hampshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, Sussex, Kent and the Isle of Wight.

Regional Director Robin Edwards said: “This is a crucial time for woodlands in the South East, and this conference will explore how working together and innovative technology can help improve productivity and performance.

“We are delighted to be working with our partners to provide a practical advice-based conference with a fascinating line-up of speakers and workshops.”

Dougal Driver, CEO of Grown in Britain, said: “Never has there been more need to join up the supply chain for certified home grown timber products. Demand is high, imports are growing and too many of our woods are being left to their own devices.”

Alison Field, Forestry Commission Area Director for the South East and London, said: “This conference has been specifically designed to stimulate new thinking by woodland owners and agents in southern England.”

The conference will cost £37.50 plus VAT for CLA members and Grown in Britain licence holders and £50 plus VAT for non-members. Breakfast, lunch and refreshments are included.

To book a place visit the CLA website by clicking here.

For more information about the CLA and its work, visit and follow @CLASouthEast on Twitter.