South West Scotland

Welcome to the South West Scotland Team

The South West Scotland Team are based in Locharbriggs, Dumfries and are headed up by District Manager Robert Herbert, who has over thirty three years experience in the industry. His team consists of a broad mix of individuals, each of them with a passion for forestry and the environment we work in. Together they manage approximately 40,000 ha of predominantly commercial woodland for a range of clients. They provide specialist skills such as the preparation of forest plans and production forecasts, digital mapping and surveying, the protection and maintenance of young trees including deer management, restocking and new woodland creation. Each person brings a special skill set with them and, like the rest of Tilhill Forestry, the team has a balanced mix of experienced people, as well as new graduates, fresh from taking their forestry or related qualifications.

Robert Herbert MICFor

District Manager

Robert started working in the Forest industry 33 years ago in Argyll, firstly as a planting contractor and then as a tree feller and chokerman. After studying Forest Management at Newton Rigg he spent time living and working in Ireland and Australia before joining Tilhill in Yorkshire. He spent 8 years there before moving north to the South West Scotland District, initially as a Forest manager for 6 years and subsequently as the District Manager for the past 9 years.

John Jefford BSC (Hons)For, MICFor

Senior Forest Manager

Following stints working for the National Trust, leading research projects in New Zealand, and contract forest establishment work in NE and SW Scotland, John has been involved with forest management in South Scotland since 1990. Motivated by achieving maximum sustainable productivity from land resources, he has worked for different forest management companies and focused on upland forest management. A broader range of experience has developed from establishing more than 1000ha of new forest, collaborating with landowners on farm woodlands, initiating utility arboriculture contracts and delivering landscaping works. John also co-ordinates supply of millions of Sitka spruce for Tilhill; working in partnership with nurseries to ensure best genetic stock is available for Tilhill sites.

Cat Kent BSc (Hons) Countryside Management

Assistant Manager (Graduate)

Cat has recently graduated from Harper Adams University and joined the team through the Tilhill Graduate Programme. She became interested in pursuing a career in forestry after undertaking placement years with the National Trust as a volunteer ranger at Cragside in Northumberland and as a student arborist at Westonbirt, the National Arboretum, in Gloucestershire.

Hannah Richardson

Assistant Manager (Graduate)

Hannah graduated from Nottingham Trent University in 2017 with a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and joined Tilhill in June 2017 as a graduate Assistant Forest Manager. Throughout her degree, Hannah gained experience working in remote, challenging areas teaching environmental education by leading field trips in the moors of North Yorkshire. Hannah will be working in the field to help with the management of client forests helping her to gain further experience.

Andrew Noble MICFor

Senior Forest Manager

Andrew started his career as a tree surgeon before going back to University at Bangor, studying Forestry and Forest products. Following a short period with Tilhill in Bury St Edmunds on mostly landscaping work, Andrew moved to the Harvesting Team with the Forestry Commission in Dumfries for 5 years. Initially involved in Standing Sales, he then took on the direct production Harvesting Team, followed by another 5 years harvesting with the Northern Ireland Forest Service across counties Fermanagh and Tyrone. A period in Establishment with the Forest Service followed before a move back to Dumfries in 2011 to his current role as a Senior Forest Manager, primarily in the Eskdalemuir area.

Andrew MacQueen

Forest Manager

Andrew joined Tilhill in 2012 after gaining a Forestry degree from Aberdeen University. He manages a range of properties from large scale commercial forests for investment clients to estate work for individual owners mainly in Annandale and Eskdale. He has a particular interest in soils and alternative species and has conducted a number of training courses for forestry staff. He is a committee member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters South Scotland regional group and an active member of the Royal Scottish Forestry Society.

William Burfitt

Senior Forest Manager

William has worked in the Forest industry for 19 years in a range of roles from the practical side through to management and has a Bsc Hons in Forest Management. He joined Tilhill in 2007 as a graduate with the Midlands district before moving to South West Scotland, becoming Project Manager of the Eskdalemuir timber bypass. He then progressed to Assistant Manager, then Forest Manager and is currently Senior Forest Manager. Will’s responsibilities involve the management of commercial conifer and native forests, managing a portfolio of approximately 6000ha for various owners and clients throughout South West Scotland (Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire). He is currently an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters working towards his full membership.

Kenny Wright

Wildlife Manager

Kenny started his career in wildlife management straight out of school, beginning as a trainee gamekeeper for Buccleuch Estates, quickly becoming an underkeeper on Drumpark & Spedoch estates before joining Tilhill (then EFG) as a trainee Wildlife manager working with Ronnie Rose in Eskdalemuir. Kenny has worked across the district to gain experience in Managing Roe and Red deer and over his 36 years in the profession has gained a broad knowledge and understanding of the varied wildlife that make the commercial forest of South Scotland there home.

Amy Lucas

Assistant Wildlife Manager

Amy joined Tilhill in April 2017 following the completion of a 2-year National Diploma in Game and Countryside Management in 2009 at Newton Rigg College. Prior to joining the team in South-west Scotland, Amy worked as a Grouse beatkeeper in Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. Her role as Assistant Wildlife Manager is to manage deer numbers within the forests, keeping deer damage to a minimum.

Kerstin Leslie BSc (Hons), MSc, MICFor

Forest Manager

With her background in Ecology, Kerstin was attracted by a modern forestry sector, where sustainable timber production is a major player in the Scottish economy. She joined the SWS team in 2011 after gaining a Masters in Forestry at Bangor University and is now a Forest Manager covering Dumfries & Galloway and Ayrshire. Kerstin is heavily involved in Tilhill’s research into alternative control methods for pine weevil, a major forest pest, and has comprehensive experience of forest certification under the UK Woodland Assurance Standard.

Jody Jacyszyn

Administration Assistant

Jody joined Tilhill Forestry in 2012 and provides Admin support for the Forest Managers based at Dumfries as well as looking after the requirements of the Investment & Property and Surveying Departments.

She also keeps the contractor database up to date and provides support for our Forestry Director.

Graham Chalk MICFor

Senior Forest Manager

Graham is a professional member of the ICF and a graduate of Bangor University. He started his career in the industry in 1985 with the Forestry Commission in South Wales and the New Forest before joining Tilhill Forestry. After a stint in the Yorkshire office he moved to South West Scotland in 1995 where he has managed a significant portfolio of commercial forests with average annual felling and restocking programmes in the hundreds of hectares. Graham has also successfully planned and planted new forests from small to large scale and is involved in Estate management locally.

Stephen Smith MICFor

Senior Forest Manager

Steve joined the company as a graduate trainee in 1978 and spent twenty years based in Oxford working on Forest Management and Timber harvesting and marketing, as well as Forestry Contracting.

In 1998 he moved to South West Scotland to take on a new challenge of restructuring the large scale commercial forests planted in the 1970’s and 80’s. He has never looked back.

Elaine Drennan

District Administrator

Elaine has worked in administration within the forestry industry since 1986 and is experienced in all aspects of the financial business. She started her career with Tilhill Forestry working at the Moffat office and is now based at the Dumfries office. Elaine is always happy to assist with any client enquiries and is the first point of contact for any administrative queries within the South West Scotland District Office. Elaine is assisted by Jody Jacyszyn and Laura Lochrie.

Laura Lochrie

Administration Assistant

Laura joined Tilhill Forestry, South West Scotland District in March 2018. With over 12 years’ experience working in a clerical environment, she provides administrative support to the Forest Managers and the District Administrator. Laura also works closely alongside John Jefford, helping to co-ordinate the supply of millions of Sitka spruce for Tilhill; working in partnership with nurseries to ensure the best genetic stock is available for Tilhill sites.

Mike Futty

Survey Manager

Mike has worked in mapping for 34 years following the completion of a Geography degree from Aberdeen University and a postgraduate diploma in Cartography from Glasgow University in 1984. He then worked for JC Plans, a subsidiary of John Clegg & Co., producing maps for land agents and for title deeds. In 1996, he returned to study and gained a masters degree in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from Edinburgh University. Mike moved to Tilhill in 1999 and since then has worked on all things GIS and mapping, ranging from data editing, map output, 3d visualisations, data analysis and presentation to the system administration of Griffin Map and GIS user training.

Ben Crisford

Assistant Forest Manager

Following a year working in an East Sussex coppiced woodland for a local charity, Ben decided to pursue a degree in Woodland Ecology and Conservation at the National School of Forestry. He joined the South West Scotland team shortly after graduating in June 2018.

Ben has a particular interest in digital mapping and remote sensing, having previously worked on several large-scale survey projects in the south-east of England.

Isaac Adams

Forest Manager

Isaac joined Tilhill in late 2018. He brings a broad range of experience to the team having previously worked in the forestry industry in a number of countries including his native New Zealand, Australia and Uruguay.