Timber merchant sees boom in business during pandemic

English Woodlands Timber has been nestled off the A286 at Cocking Hill since the second world war.

Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 3:31 pm

“So many people probably drive past and don’t even know we are here,” said Ian McNally director at English Woodlands Timber.

The business has been based at its current site since 1939, Tom Compton bought it from the previous investors 20 years ago, and Ian joined ten years ago.

It is a specialist in timber grown in Britain and sells to builders, joiners, furniture makers and individuals.

Elm burr and maple
Elm burr and maple

There are 25 members of staff at the site - machinists involved with moulding and cutting, a large sales team, warehouse and logistic staff, admin and timber selectors.

Ian said: “We are a small business operating at a national level.

“We are incredibly proud to have won TTJ’s (Timber Trades Journal) small timber business of the year twice in 2019 and 2020.”

It specialises in hardwood which includes oak, elm, and sweet chestnut.

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Ian said: “We want to be sustainable and this means we are cutting down less than we are growing, 90 per cent of what we use is certified timber.”

Alongside timber from Britain it also sources its wood from the continent and America.

Most of what they sell is to those in England, with some sales in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Before Covid customers were able to view the wood in person at the sawmills but now much of this is done online.

Planks of wood at the timber merchant

Ian said: “We are sent a cut list which includes the type of wood, the length, thickness, the quality of wood needed, if you want oak, what is it for and then our selectors go through our stock and pick what is needed.

“The selectors have to have a great deal of knowledge from building requirements to the timber.”

During the pandemic the business found it was busier than ever with sales up 30 per cent, which Ian says meant they have invested in their online and social media presence.

For more information, visit englishwoodlandstimber.co.uk or

@englishwoodlandstimber on Instagram, english.timber on Facebook.