I was brought up in the black country, in what was then Britain’s most industrial square mile (so it was said). I escaped to study Forestry at the University of Wales (Bangor), and thence volunteered for overseas service in Swaziland where I spent a year based at a research station in the Usutu Forest.
I returned to the UK in the mid-1970s and worked as a Nature Conservancy warden for a season before joining the Forestry Commission. My first post was in the Forest of Dean, and much concerned with recreation, access and industrial archaeology. I then moved to Kielder in Northumberland, as forest manager in charge of silviculture and private woodlands for four years. My next job was as a Silvicultural Researcher at the Northern Research Station at Roslin, near Edinburgh, where I published many articles on a range of technical subjects concerning establishing and especially restocking felled woodland. I returned to management as Forest District Manager for North Wales, but after two years was back in research as Head of Silviculture at Alice Holt research station near Farnham in Surrey. Here I managed a research programme, moving it more towards environmental forestry and away from purely timber production, while being personally involved in research on poplars, willow and energy coppice.
In 1999 I took a sabbatical at University College London to study ‘Public Understanding of Environmental Change’. This experience enabled me to set up and lead the Social and Economic Research Group at Alice Holt until I took early retirement in 2007 to work as a research consultant.
My interests have always included ‘folk arts’ including morris dancing, playing various instruments in a ceilidh band and playing Northumbrian bagpipes.
I was appointed as a Director of Landscape Research Group in 2004, and became Chair of the Group’s Board of Directors in 2012.