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Scottish Woodlands Ltd - the United Kingdom's leading Forest Management Company


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Woodlands' View - Scottish Woodlands' newsletter

Posted on: 17/10/2017

We have published a new issue of our newsletter.

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Woodlands' View

Flintshire Woodlands Hosts Future Foresters

Posted on: 12/09/2017

Students with Flintshire Woodlands


Colleagues in Flintshire Woodlands hosted a group of final-year forestry students from the University of Wales Bangor before they graduated on a one-day tour to look at commercial forestry in a mixed woodland in north Wales.

The event gave students an opportunity to see and discuss commercial forestry in Wales at first hand as well as give the forest managers an opportunity to meet potential recruits of the future.

The students were able to learn from practising foresters and put into practice what they had learnt in the classroom. Topics covered mensuration which included an abbreviated tariff exercise and discussion on the optimum time for thinning in relation to species, site and machinery.

Despite much mechanisation within the industry, the students were reminded that the human element remains vital to a successful job. Another topic of discussion focussed on the importance of commercial forestry to a private estate and how to optimise returns for the client, and timing and planning of operations such as harvesting, marketing of timber and restocking.

The students enjoyed the opportunity of networking with experienced foresters and learning from their valuable knowledge, from Wales and further afield.

Spotlight UK Forestry Investment 2017

Posted on: 29/03/2017

Spotlight UK Forestry Cover


New research by Savills and Scottish Woodlands 'Spotlight on the UK Forestry Market 2017' reveals the extent of forest market sales transacted last year.

According to the research, forestry remains a strong performer amongst all land-based investments, with more than £82 million being traded last year and plantation values forecast to rise by 32% over the next 5 years.

The report also presents positive projections for increasing future demand for UK timber and outlines the current opportunities for forestry expansion within the UK.

For further advice on forest investment please contact Dave Robertson on +44(0)1738 625128 or

A copy of the report is available to download here. (3.3MB)

Scottish Woodlands turns 50

Posted on: 06/03/2017

Planting trees at Crieff Hydro


Scottish Woodlands Ltd is marking its 50th year by publishing an anniversary book and planting a celebration woodland. Read more about our 50th anniversary in our press release.

Spotlight UK Forestry Investment 2016

Posted on: 22/03/2016

Spotlight UK Forestry Market 2016

New research by Savills and Scottish Woodlands ‘Spotlight on the UK Forestry Market 2016’ reveals the cumulative value of the UK forestry market has increased by more than 200% in the last five years and the sector accounted for £137m worth of investment last year.

According to the research, forestry remains a strong performer amongst all land-based investments, with more than £130 million being traded last year and a rise in the average value per hectare.

For further advice on forest investment please contact James Adamson on +44(0)1738 625128 or

A copy of the report is available to download here. (1.94MB)

Confor Award 2016

Posted on: 17/03/2016

Confor held its annual industry dinner last month and the recipient of this year’s Dedicated Service to Forestry Award was Colin Mann, Managing Director. The award was presented by Confor chair, Athole McKillop, and is given in recognition of the significant contribution which an individual has made over their career within the industry.

As well as leading Scottish Woodlands for over 10 years, during this time Colin has also served a term as the Chair of Confor as well as serving as the current Chair of FISA. Colin received a very attractive burr elm bowl made by Angus Clyne.

Scottish Woodlands Ltd Student Excellence Award Announced

Posted on: 11/03/2016

The Scottish Forestry Trust is delighted to announce that the winner of the Scottish Woodlands Ltd Student Excellence Award for 2015 is Stuart Fraser, formerly of Aberdeen University and now carrying out post-doctoral research at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria. His thesis "Inter and intra specific variation in susceptibility to Dothistroma needle blight within pine species used in British forestry" was successfully completed during 2015.

Scottish Woodlands Ltd Student Excellence Award


Commenting on his award, Stuart said, "I thank the Trust and Scottish Woodlands for this recognition and I am extremely happy to have been able to contribute to this important area of research. The results highlighted the need to exercise care in selecting pines for outplanting in UK forests, and showed that Dothistroma needle blight can cause significant damage to Scottish sources of Scots pine in high risk areas"

Prof Steve Woodward of Aberdeen University and Dr Anna Brown of Forest Research supervised Stuart’s research. Commenting on the research, Prof Woodward said "I would like to thank Scottish Woodlands and The Scottish Forestry Trust for making this award to Stuart. He was an outstanding PhD student, wrote an excellent thesis and has made an important contribution to the understanding of Dothistroma in one of our most iconic commercial and native tree species".

Commenting on the latest award, Guy Watt, the former Chairman of The Scottish Forestry Trust said, "Trustees were particularly impressed by the quality of the final thesis and by the practical relevance of the findings. Stuart was the first of twelve PhD students to have received funding from the Trust’s joint Bursary Award scheme. This fund, kindly supported by the Forestry Commission, shows what can be achieved when resources are pooled and are deployed to benefit the wider forestry industry."

Colin Mann, Managing Director of Scottish Woodlands Ltd and a Trustee of The Scottish Forestry Trust, said "I am delighted that Stuart is presented with this award in recognition of his hard work and dedication in seeing this important project through to its conclusion. Dothistroma continues to have an important impact on woodlands in Scotland in particular and Stuart's research helps to point out that some of the previously held views on the susceptibility of Scots pine to Dothistroma need to be re-examined".

Scottish Woodlands Reports Strong Results as New Generation Step Up

Posted on: 03/03/2016

Scotland's leading independent forest management company has announced pre-tax profits of more than £1.3 million – and revealed changes at senior level in the business.

Scottish Woodlands Ltd, which is 80 per cent employee-owned, recorded a turnover of £69.5 million for the financial year to September 30, 2015 and pre-tax profits of £1.315m. Shareholders’ funds rose to £4.5 million, up from £4.03m.

Colin Mann and Ralland Browne, Scottish Woodlands Ltd


Colin Mann, Managing Director, said: "We are very pleased with our 2014/15 results because, although turnover and profit is very slightly down on last year (turnover was £73.8m and profit £1.56m in 2013/14), this was largely because of the strength of sterling and not because of less activity in our markets." The new figures are still considerably up on 2012/13 - £63.9 million turnover and £1.23 million pre-tax profits.

The company – based in Riccarton, Edinburgh but with offices across Scotland as well as England, Wales and Northern Ireland – employs 141 people and has 85 staff shareholders. It is one of the larger employee-controlled companies in Scotland, although operations also cover the main forest growing areas of northern England and Wales.

Scottish Woodlands Ltd has also announced important succession changes to the senior management team and Board. Mr Mann leaves his post as Managing Director, which he has held since a successful management buy-out of the company in 2005, to take up the role of Deputy Chairman. He will be succeeded in April by Deputy Managing Director, Ralland Browne, who has been with Scottish Woodlands for 29 years.

Geoff Craythorne also finishes his term as Finance Director and Company Secretary and is succeeded by Richard Walker, previously Chief Accountant.

In addition, Chairman Tom A Bruce Jones CBE, retires from office after a decade and hands over to his son, Tom R Bruce Jones, who is also Joint Managing Director of James Jones & Sons, one of Scotland’s most advanced timber sawmilling and processing companies.

James Jones & Sons is a minority shareholder in SWL Ltd, the holding company which owns Scottish Woodlands Ltd.

In his Chairman's Report, Tom A Bruce Jones noted that the strength of sterling had impacted on results but said the figures were still ahead of the budgeted forecast. He wrote: "Profitability is now on a firm footing and the company has built a stronger balance sheet". He also praised the "unstinting commitment" of Mr Mann and his team.

Mr Mann said: "Although our Board level changes sound significant, they are part of a well-organised and carefully thought-out succession plan. They will assist the business in expanding into the next chapter of our development in what is now one of the country's most vibrant industries – a sector worth £1 billion according to Forestry Commission research published in late 2015. I am delighted we are able to move our business forward in such a positive way and to announce Ralland Browne as my successor."

As part of his new role, which will be part-time, Mr Mann will be involved in overseeing the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2017, as well as a range of other responsibilities including Director of Utilities and Landscaping. He was last week named as the winner of the annual Dedicated Service to Forestry Award by trade body Confor: promoting forestry and wood.

Confor Chief Executive Stuart Goodall said: "Colin Mann has been an absolute stalwart of the forestry sector in Scotland for a very long time. He is an excellent forester and a very talented businessman - and highly deserving of this recognition from his peers. Scottish Woodlands has thrived under his leadership and these latest results show it to be in excellent shape for the next generation."

Mr Mann said that with 80 per cent of corporate equity owned by its workforce, Scottish Woodlands is a leading example as to how employee ownership makes for an inclusive and profitable organisation - for clients, customers, employees and contractors alike.

Statement on the Modern Slavery Act

Posted on: 23/02/2016

Scottish Woodlands' statement on the Modern Slavery Act is available on the About Us page to view and download.

Video: Confor releases new film on forestry - "Our Forests, Our People"

Posted on: 02/02/2016

Scottish Woodlands Ltd, as a member of Confor, has been involved in the production of a short film on the importance of forestry and timber.

This Confor film is part of a range of new materials designed to better explain the sector and the organisation’s work to a wider audience.

The filming was a new experience for some of the Scottish Woodlands’ colleagues involved and we are grateful to them for taking time to explain the forestry sector and what their job involves.

The film, "Our Forests, Our People" shows how the sector works and its economic, social and environmental importance to communities and the UK as a whole - with Scottish Woodlands among the forestry and timber businesses featured.

Stuart Goodall, Confor's Chief Executive summarised, "It is vital that we have a visual means to communicate what the forestry and timber sector and its people are about. The video does this, and also tackles a range of misunderstanding and misconceptions ... The video is an excellent resource and we really hope our members and the wider sector make good use of it and share its contents with a wider audience - it is there for all to use. The forestry and timber sector has a great story to tell, but we need to tell it more effectively."

We hope you find this film useful - Click here to view "Our Forests, Our People" and click here to read the full press release from Confor.

Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards 2015 - Ireland’s only forestry awards, rewarding excellence in forest management

Posted on: 08/12/2015

Northern Ireland’s foresters came out on top at the Irish Forestry Awards in Castletown House, Co. Kildare on November 4th 2015). Shanes Castle Estate from Co. Antrim and Learmount Forest in Co. Derry received two of the major honours at the Awards in recognition of excellence in forest management.

The Irish Forestry Awards are jointly awarded by the RDS and the Forest Service of the Republic of Ireland. Andrew Doyle TD, Chair of the Oireachtas Committee for Agriculture and RDS President Matt Dempsey were on hand to award the prizes.

Speaking at Castletown House, RDS President Matt Dempsey said: "These awards provide an excellent opportunity to showcase all that is good about Irish Forestry. Good farmers make good foresters and forestry is an important element of Ireland’s farming sector. The long tradition of RDS commitment to quality and excellence in agriculture is maintained by these annual awards. Indeed, the RDS has been involved with Irish forestry as far back as 1740".

Royal Dublin Society (RDS) - Forest Service Irish Forestry Awards 2015


Winning a prize of €2000 and the RDS Silver Medal in the Multipurpose Forestry Category, Shanes Castle Estate is an excellent example of the economic and environmental benefits that good forestry brings. Owned by Lord O’Neill, and managed by leading UK and Irish forest management company Scottish Woodlands Ltd, the 315 hectare woodland has a history of continuous planting over the last three centuries providing a sustainable source of timber production, income and employment opportunities in the local area. The woodland is also a haven for wildlife and is home to many species including a heronry of 40 breeding pairs on the lake front.

The Judges noted that Lord O’Neill has a passionate interest in both his trees and their associate woodland, providing access to walkers, bee keeping huts and preserving many of the unique features of the woodland including numerous ancient trees, some of which have been in existence since at least 1600.

While not as long standing as some of the trees in Shanes Castle Estate the O'Neill’s relationship with the RDS stretches back 219 years to 1796 when the Lord Viscount O’Neill was elected as a member of the Society.

Making it a Northern Ireland double this year, Learmount Forest won the 2015 Irish Forestry Community Woodland Award. Situated some 30 km from Derry City, Learmount Forest covers 118 hectares of woodland in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains. Bought by the Forest Service of Northern Ireland at the end of the Second World War, it has over 15 different tree species planted, with some of which are over 100 years old.

The Learmount Community Development Group is very active in the area and use the forest extensively for various activities and events throughout the year. Their drive and initiative has resulted in persuading other organisations to make resources available for the development of amenities in the woodland. The Judges commented that Learmount Forest is an excellent example of where joined up thinking and action can achieve an outcome that meets the needs of not only the local residents, but also provide an amenity that can be enjoyed by tourists and visitors from the wider community.

Narrowly missing out on making it a hat trick of wins for Northern Ireland Baronscourt Estate near Omagh, Co. Tyrone, was runner up in the Production Forestry Category. Winning a prize of €1000 and the RDS Certificate of Merit, Baronscourt Estate, extends to over 58 hectares and compromises a mix of both broadleaf and conifer species which are managed in a successful and sustainable way.

Finally, Seaforde Estate in Co. Down which is owned by the Forde family and also managed by Scottish Woodlands Ltd were awarded the RDS Ulster Provincial Certificate of Merit in Recognition of Woodland Excellence.

Founded in 1731, the RDS continues to fulfil its commitment to furthering the economic and cultural development of Ireland, of which agriculture remains an important component.

Video: Integrated Forestry and Farming in Wales

Posted on: 16/07/2015

Flintshire Woodlands, a trading division of Scottish Woodlands Ltd, has contributed towards a video to highlight opportunities for woodland creation on marginal land. We assisted the farmer as forest manager, to plan, establish, and maintain the woodlands and harvest a timber crop which was processed locally. The video, produced by Confor, was filmed in North Wales and it will be screened at the Royal Welsh Show next week. As Confor notes, "the aim of the film is to promote forestry to farmers and to show that forestry can play an important part in land management and can be done in conjunction with conventional farming, the emphasis is not to push forestry instead of but in addition to farming."

Click here for the full text of the Confor news item

Click here to view the video: Integrated Forestry and Farming in Wales

Good Practice with Forestry Commission Scotland

Posted on: 07/05/2015

Forestry Commission Scotland has released the two videos showing good practice for water management in forests - ‘Managing Water on Harvesting Sites’ and ‘Managing Water on Cultivation Sites‘.

Made for forest managers and contractors, these videos explain how to comply with water regulations when cultivating or harvesting a site.

The videos use live-action shots from sites and interviews with the foresters involved to demonstrate how straightforward compliance can be. They showcase water management work in south Scotland by foresters from Forest Enterprise Scotland, Scottish Woodlands Ltd, UPM Tilhill and Forestry Ground Preparation Ltd and highlight what SEPA considers to be good practice.

Scottish Woodlands, as one of the contractors featured in the ‘Managing Water on Cultivation Sites‘ video, includes an interview with Ben Taylor, one of our team of Forest Managers.

You can view both of these videos on the Forestry Commission Scotland’s website here.

For further information, contact Julia Garritt, Policy Adviser - Species, Water & Soils, Forestry Commission Scotland by email here.

Spotlight UK Forestry Investment Spring 2015

Posted on: 01/04/2015

Spotlight UK Forestry Investment Spring 2015.pdf

We are delighted to have recently published our collaborative research report with Savills into the Forestry Investment Market. The research report looks at market transactions over recent years to identify trends and key value drivers.

The report concludes that forestry, along with farmland, has outperformed many other asset classes during the past 20 years. It offers a strong combination of benefits, being land-based, commodity-driven, tax efficient and often counter-cyclical to other investment products.

Any investment in forestry will ideally include a woodland portfolio of mixed age structure, spread across different geographic locations. Forestry has the advantage over some assets of providing the opportunity to manage the timing of income during periods of price volatility by delaying timber felling effectively ‘banking value on the stump’ as stored capital until prices recover. Our research showed unsurprisingly south Scotland remains the top performing investment region, but that there are good opportunities throughout all areas of Britain. Analysis of south Scotland transactions shows average values increase to around £12,000 per hectare at year 40, giving a value increase of 165% over the rotation length or just over 4% per annum based solely on increasing tree age.

In practical terms the volume of available forestry in GB is limited and therefore the likelihood is that a relatively small transactional market will continue to support and enhance capital values over the medium to longer term. Coupled with the effects of market size, Britain has a world class wood processing sector that requires long term continuity of wood supply and there are already concerns in the industry over the future availability of timber.  Based on simple supply and demand economics it is difficult to forecast anything but positive future investment performance for the sector.

For further advice on forest investment please contact James Adamson on +44(0)1738 625128 or

A copy of the report is available to download here. (1.0MB)

Scottish Woodlands Student Excellence Award Announced

Posted on: 02/10/2014

Scottish Woodlands Student Excellence Award Announced


The Scottish Forestry Trust is delighted to announce that the winner of the Scottish Woodlands Student Excellence Award for 2013/14 is Jo Clark, a former external PhD at Bangor University and Forestry Research Manager at the Earth Trust. Her thesis “Adaptation of ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) to climate change” was successfully completed during 2013.

Speaking from her home in Oxfordshire, Jo said, “I thank the Trust and Scottish Woodlands for this recognition and I am extremely happy to have been able to contribute to this important area of research. The results highlighted the need to keep as broad a genetic base as possible in light of the likely impacts of climate change, but are also pertinent in the face of such problems as ash dieback and the other myriad diseases that are affecting many of our timber trees. I am really delighted that the work has been recognised.”

Course supervisor Dr. Christine Cahalan of Bangor University said “On behalf of all of Jo’s postgraduate advisers I would like to thank Scottish Woodlands and The Scottish Forestry Trust for making this award to Jo. She wrote an excellent thesis and has made an important contribution to the understanding of genetic variation in one of our native tree species”.

Commenting on the latest award, Guy Watt, the Chairman of The Scottish Forestry Trust said, “Trustees were particularly impressed by the quality of the final thesis and by the practical relevance of the findings. Since Jo’s work started, the outlook for Ash has become particularly precarious and her work has helped to identify some practical steps to help to build greater resilience into Ash populations to aid adaptation to future climate change impacts.”

Colin Mann, Managing Director of Scottish Woodlands Ltd and a Trustee of The Scottish Forestry Trust, said “I am delighted that Jo is presented with this award in recognition of her hard work and dedication in seeing this project through to its conclusion”.

Jo is now leading the Defra funded Living Ash Project, which will identify trees tolerant of Chalara, with the aim of bringing together sufficient individuals to start a new breeding programme in the UK.

The Scottish Forestry Trust launched The Scottish Woodlands Student Excellence Award in 2011 in order to recognise excellence in the quality and relevance of the output from PhD Studentships funded by the Trust. The Award provides £250 per recipient as a result of funding provided by Scottish Woodlands Ltd.

The Scottish Forestry Trust is the leading UK Charitable Trust providing funds for research, education and training in support of British Forestry and Arboriculture. Established in 1983 by a gifting of share capital, the Trust is a registered charity and has a remit to provide private sector funds to support research and education throughout the British forestry industry. Since 1983, the Trust has provided over £2m to 150 projects ranging from supporting post graduate education through to contributing towards industry applied research and assisting policy formulation. More information and contact details are available at:

The Living Ash Project is a partnership project involving Defra, Forest Research, the Sylva Foundation, the Future Trees Trust and the Earth Trust. More information and contact details are available at:

Award Presentation - A small seminar was held in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, on the 26th September looking at the future of ash trees and woods in the light of climate change and the threat from ash dieback. Among the presenters was Jo Clark from the Earth Trust at Little Wittenham. Scottish Forestry Trust trustee, Dr. Keith Kirby made the award presentation to Jo at the meeting.

World Record Attempt

Posted on: 24/06/2014

Climbing Poles at the Royal Highland Show


Scottish Woodlands has sponsored new climbing poles in the Forestry Arena at the Royal Highland Show at Ingliston, Edinburgh.

The two Douglas fir poles came from Kirkennan woodlands, near Dalbeattie. There was a world record attempt at climbing the pole on the last day of this year’s Show. While the world record was not broken, the fastest time recorded in the record attempt was 11.61 seconds, by Ben Lightfoot. We congratulate him and the other winners on their attempts.

Forestry has flourishing role in Scottish economy

Posted on: 03/06/2014

The following article was published in The Scotsman on 28th May 2014.

Written by Scottish Woodlands’ Managing Director Colin Mann, the article previewed the ‘Building on Success: The future of forestry and timber in Scotland’ conference which took place in Edinburgh the following day.

Delegates at a significant forestry conference in Edinburgh this week understand they work in a sector which is economically and environmentally crucial to Scotland.

As trade body Confor noted in The Scotsman last week, forestry is also a long-term business. The lives of softwood trees, the productive heartbeat of our industry, are not measured in political cycles, but in decades. So I’m delighted forestry minister Paul Wheelhouse will be at the conference to hear from the sector. Mr Wheelhouse has stressed his firm commitment to forestry and recognises its twin economic/environmental benefits. Scotland’s forestry sector supports 40,000 jobs, adds £1.7 billion in annual economic value and is vital to plans to meet Scotland’s world-leading carbon reduction targets.

Forestry’s virtuous cycle depends on constantly planting new woodland to ensure a long-term timber supply. I endorse Confor’s call to extend the Scottish Government pledge to plant 6,000 hectares of productive forestry annually through to 2042. This will secure 1,000-plus jobs, sequester an additional 55 million tonnes of carbon – and guarantee continued investment.

All businesses in the supply chain depend on secure timber supply and demand. That includes my own company, Scottish Woodlands, which is 80 per cent employee-owned with 145 staff and 13 Scottish offices, from Strathpeffer to Castle Douglas. Our recent results indicate a continued strong performance, bucking recessionary challenges, with sales reaching £64m and after-tax profits well over £500,000.

It is vital to our woodland-owning clients that we have sustainable, strong markets for their timber and if sufficient new productive trees are not planted, continued investment by the processing sector is endangered.

From nurseries and woodland services companies to sawmillers and those creating products from sawn timber, all forestry businesses depend on security of supply – and this requires a commitment to create new woodland now. That’s the message we will stress to Paul Wheelhouse and other politicians.

Archived news items are available to view here.