Outstanding attendance at live demonstration of latest equipment

(Tilhill Forestry, South Wales, October, 2016) – Tilhill Forestry was glad to invite representatives from all stakeholder groups across the forest industry to a winch assisted harvesting demonstration on 4th October 2016. The was event organised by Hamish Parkinson, Harvesting Manager, and Chris Pike, Head of Safety and Assurance at Tilhill Forestry, and included live demonstrations of two winch assist systems and a panel discussion at a local hotel.

The systems being demonstrated were the Ecoforst T-Winch and the Highlander harvester/clam bunk skidder with on-board winch. These two systems demonstrated the capabilities of the machines, but also the two generic types of winch assist, on board and additional machine. The use of the Highlander, operated by Mike Gillet of MG Harvesting Ltd, was being used on a section of windblown trees on steep ground. Without the winch assisted machine these windblown trees would have had to have been felled by motor manual techniques, placing an operator at high risk.

The panel for the discussion was made up of Markus Krenn of Ecoforst, Sean Reilly of Bioequipment UK, Jock Mckie of John Deere, Tim Cronin of Komatsu, Lyn Davies of Ponsse and Iain Sutherland. The discussion was facilitated by Chris Pike, who put a number of points to the panel. These covered the legal aspects, ground and site concerns and machinery concerns. These ensured a good debate with members of the audience joining in and airing their views and experiences.

There is no guidance existing in the UK for this type of machinery, so we were glad to have Ian Hood, the chair of FISA’s Plant and Machinery Working Group, present to take the issues raised back to the group to be discussed. We hope that some central guidance can be agreed for the benefit of the whole industry.

As with all these events many people should be thanked for allowing us to put this one on: the MOD who were very supportive in giving us permission to hold the event on their ground – in particular Major Eddie Mahoney; the staff from Landmarc, the site managing agents; Judith Peachey and Martin Leonard. Markus Krenn of Ecoforst; Sean Reilly of Bioequipment UK and Mike Gillet for supplying the demo machinery; Jock Mckie of John Deere; Tim Cronin of Komatsu; Lyn Davies of Ponsse and Iain Sutherland of the HSE for sitting on the panel of experts in the afternoon session. Tilhill Forestry staff included: Peter Whitfield, Timber Operations Director; Chris Pike, Head of Safety Assurance; Hamish Parkinson, Harvesting Manager and Tina Ambler, Safety Manager, for their help and support in organising and promoting the event.


Tilhill Forestry Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the BSW Timber Group was established more than 65 years ago. It is a national company operating from a network of offices throughout the UK. The company provides a full range of consultancy and contracting services to the forest owner and forestry investor.

BSW is the most technologically advanced sawmill in the UK employing over 1,200 people. The Company’s roots date back to 1848, and with seven sawmills in the UK and one in Latvia, has a production capacity of more than 1.2 million m3 of sawn timber which is distributed throughout construction, fencing and landscape markets.

Together, BSW and Tilhill Forestry form a strong partnership in the forest industry that will deliver quality from beginning to end – from creating new forests through to producing timber end products.

Written by Chris Pike, Head of Safety and Assurance, Tilhill Forestry