Wainwrights – Proven Professionals

Quality Throughout – proven Professionals

Working in Partnership

Tilhill Forestry relies on a network of trusted and reliable contractors who partner with our Forest Managers to deliver the high standard of work our customers expect.

Some of our contractors have worked with Tilhill for decades which means they fully understand what is expected, the importance of health and safety and that Tilhill has the expertise and depth of knowledge and resources to deal with the everyday challenges that arise when you are working in forestry.

One such contractor is Steve Wainwright, owner of Wainwright Forestry, who started working with Tilhill in 1990. He has formed a strong relationship with Tilhill and as such they have become a preferred client.

Steve has been known to refuse to take up contracts when asked. The main reasons for refusing the work being that they don’t match Tilhill’s professionalism, communication skills and stringent attitude to health and safety.

Steve explains: “You always have to be prepared for the unexpected when you start work on a site. For instance, on one site we discovered there was an old military gas line underneath the area where we needed to work. The Tilhill team had the resources to investigate and then call in the required support to make sure there was no risk to our staff or the public.”

“I really like the Tilhill approach to health and safety. The Safety & Assurance Team always visit the sites to speak to my staff on their terms rather than talking to them in a conference room. The training days Tilhill offers such as electrical awareness, diffuse pollution and waste are also excellent.

It’s really important for me to know that my staff are safe and with Tilhill Forestry, I have complete confidence. There are some companies I just wouldn’t work for because they don’t have the knowledge base or the procedures in place. Tilhill managers don’t just look and act professionally, they are all extremely knowledgeable and everyone knows they could actually do the job themselves – by that I mean if you gave them a chainsaw they would be qualified and know how to use it.”

The connection between the two companies runs deep. Over the years, Steve has welcomed forestry students needing to gain planting experience while at university who have subsequently progressed to become managers with Tilhill. So he has gone from employing people to being contracted by them!

It’s obvious that Steve is still passionate about forestry even after nearly three decades in the industry. He tells of the excitement on discovering things that have been consumed by forests which are only to be revealed when harvesting starts.

“Over the years we’ve found an entire train with carriages originally used by the Coal Board. Abandoned, forgotten buildings, a graveyard for horses with proper headstones, a tank, statues and even some old Victorian ice houses. One time we found the remains of an old Victorian garden with a concrete pond”

Wainwright Forestry became a true family business when Steve’s son Lee, then age 18, joined his father and mother Anita to work in the business. Anita runs the administrative side of the company while Steve and Lee focus on the operational side.

Steve explains:

“We were so pleased when Lee decided to join the team. After training as a chainsaw operator he formed a hand-cutting team and then gradually started building up our machinery collection starting with a Valtra tractor and Forwarding trailer, then a 360 Komatsu with stroke head, followed by a John Deer 1110D forwarder. Our most recent acquisition is a Komatsu 931.1.”

There is also a tree surgery team and staff who do planting, fencing and spraying and any other work that arises during a contract. He says one of the reasons the partnership between his company and Tilhill is so successful is that he will turn his hand to whatever he is asked to do.

“Even if it’s outside the original scope of the job like picking up litter, we do it. If something goes wrong we all learn from it without people trying to blame each other. I’ve often been told that people like working with me because they say: “If there is something in the way you move it and if something is broken you fix it” – that’s a huge compliment to me and the team.”

Out of the hundreds of contracts Steve and his team have worked on with Tilhill over the years he says that the work to improve the Fossdyke River was one of his favourites. It involved using a steel barge to collect the trees they were felling along the river bank. He also enjoyed the tree planting work his team carried out in the Lake District and being involved in Jubilee Park for The Woodland Trust where 600,000 trees were planted.

Both Tilhill Forestry and Wainwright Forestry hope this special relationship will continue for many years to come.