Quality Contractor from Acorn to Oak- Thompsons Plant Hire

Thompsons Plant Hire is this week’s Tilhill Forestry chosen contractor and they give us insight into where they started and where they are today.

Thompsons Plant Hire (TPH) is a family run business based in Flimby on the Cumbrian Coast. It was founded in 1994 by Kevin Thompson. The business has grown from an acorn with just a couple of wagons and plant to a mighty oak with over 100 vehicles, serving several blue-chip companies ranging from the likes of quarry operation, stevedoring at the port of Workington, haulage, biomass and plant hire. They continue to grow their work force and employ where possible from the local areas where they operate. This enables TPH to assist with the local employment and economy.

From the very beginning they have been a motivated company that takes pride in a successful work force. One that thrives on values and works closely with our customers to ensure full satisfaction, covering various operations that can supply cross integral service giving the best value for money to its customer.

This work ethic has seen the company grow into what it is today, with an ever-growing work load and high employee morale. With this growth TPH have continued to keep up to date with changes within the industry. One way they do this is to make it a top priority to ensure all staff are up to date with all training and qualifications that they may need, to successfully and safely complete their work.

As a company they have worked with Tilhill Forestry for over 10 years, growing their knowledge within the industry and built strong solid foundations during this time.

TPH were instrumental in providing the initial Waste Wood processing machinery and labour for Tilhill Forestry at the UPM Shotton plant at Deeside. Close cooperation between Tilhill and TPH has meant the operation has turned into the success story it is today, enabling UPM to have the confidence to invest in the fixed waste wood processing plant that TPH now operate through Tilhill Forestry.

Day to day activities include, whole tree chipping; this entails whole trees being chipped by TPH’s Albach chippers.  Walking floor trucks give a ’one stop shop‘ for Tilhill Forestry which are then transported to the UPM Caledonian Paper Mill.

TPH are heavily involved in forest site shredding of brash and tree stumps using a Morbark 4600 Woodhog and an excavator for loading. As above, this is then chipped directly into the company’s walking floor trucks and again transported to a paper mill.

Their current contract with Tilhill Forestry’s Fibre Supply Team is based at UPM Shotton. This includes supply of machinery, such as a fleet of loading shovels, excavators, one of these being a 360 excavator with a high-rise cab, doppstadt’s, jenz’s and morbach shredders.  This is ideal for the mass wood processing required and always puts TPH in a position to have a backup, giving reassurance and confidence that a good service will always be delivered. They currently work a shift system on a 6 day week, which is 6am-10pm.

The company also carries out a chipping operation at UPM Caledonian for Tilhill Forestry during sawmill holiday periods and times of plant breakdown.

TPH’s investment in machinery for the work they carry out for the Forest Industry, including Tilhill Forestry. is as below;

  • Loading shovels: A fleet of loading shovels to hire, that can hold 18-30 tons.
  • 360 degrees excavators from 14-90 tons.
  • Articulate dump trucks from 30-40 tons.
  • D6N/D6T LGP Dozers.
  • Breakers from 14-45 tons.
  • Cones crushers, jaw crushers and impactors.
  • Trommel screens
  • Double and triple deck screeners.
  • Shredders – Morbark woodhogs and doppstaat.
  • Chippers- Musmax, jenz and albach.
  • Port handling equipment- Liebherr LH50-LH60-LH110
  • Transport- A fleet of timber lorries with cranes, flat trailers, walking floors and low loaders.

They move all of their own equipment to ensure that they give full satisfaction to all of their customers and are a self-sufficient company.

TPH’s top tips to the industry are;

  • Always invest in new and efficient equipment.
  • Make sure that management and employees are kept up to date with health and safety regulations and have the correct training.
  • Provide an excellent service to all customers; making sure that you always do what you have said that you are going to do.
  • Always making sure that you expand your knowledge regularly to keep up to date with an ever changing fast paced industry.
  • Whilst working with the customer, always look towards working as a partnership to ever improve your services.


Neil Bond Tilhill Forestry Fibre Supply Manager said: “Thompson Plant Hire are a friendly, professional and responsive contractor, the operators work to a high standard with a strong focus on health and safety. As a team they deliver what they have promised”