A new face at Cowdray Estate

Richard Everett
Richard Everett

THERE is a new forest manager at the Cowdray Estate following the retirement of head forester Donald Macdonald who held the post for thirty years.

Richard Everett has worked in a number of roles for the Forestry Commission over the last 13 years.

His most recent post was in South Forest District and he and his family have moved from Ringwood to their new home in Midhurst.

Mr Macdonald, who retired last September joined the estate in 1985.

Over three decades he saw a huge amount of change in the forestry business.

“Uses for timber have been in and out of fashion but wood is now very much ‘on the up’ and more wood is harvested now than when I joined the Estate,” he said.

“A great deal is used for energy purposes, quality timber is used in construction and large quantities of lower grade timber are sold to be broken down and reconstituted to form sheets of MDF, chipboard and other products for the building industry.

“We also know from local experience that a great deal goes into wood shavings which are used for equestrian bedding now instead of straw.” However, he said, mechanisation has seen the workforce drop to around fourteen full time employees.

Asked for his final thoughts on all his years at the Cowdray Estate, Mr Macdonald said: “I’m told that the old Lord Cowdray, together with his agent, master of horse and head forester would all tour the Estate on horseback most Sunday mornings. I would have loved to have done that!”

Forestry remains an important business for Cowdray with 7,000 of the 16,500 acre estate managed for timber.

Now one of the biggest suppliers of sustainable timber in the south it has a team of 12 foresters.