Jan 13 2020

Introducing Peter Coles our new Site Manager for Surrey & West Kent

Last month we said our temporary goodbyes to Alissa Wilson who is our Site Manager for Surrey and West Kent as she went on maternity leave.  We wish Alissa all the very best for her pending new arrival.  The team is delighted to announce that Peter Coles has been successfully recruited to take up the reins while Alissa is on leave.


Peter Coles, Site Manager for Surrey & West Kent

Peter has been working for the National Trust as a Ranger at Sissinghurst Castle Garden Portfolio in Kent and has experience and a good understanding of forestry operations, liaising with contractors, managing veteran trees, tree safety and dealing with pests and diseases.  Peter tells us a little bit more about his background and interests below…


“I started at the Woodland Trust in December 2019 as Site Manager for 20 woods across Surrey and West Kent.


Previously I was a Ranger with the National Trust at Sissinghurst Castle Gardens, planning and carrying out a wide variety of practical conservation and estate management tasks. A key part of that role was coppicing the sweet chestnut woodlands. Each winter we would fell around 2Ha which, with the help of our volunteer teams, we would extract and process into fencing and building materials for use on the estate.


Born and bred in Kent I went on to study a Conservation Biology and Ecology BSc with Exeter University at their Cornwall Campus which has given me a love of the West Country and a worrying Cornish pasty habit!  During my time at University I merged a passion for wildlife photography with my studies and co-founded a student run wildlife documentary series called NatureWatch.  Springwatch inspired and endorsed this and it became a brilliant excuse to get out of the library into nature and I’m very pleased that current students still continue to produce episodes.

Whenever possible I enjoy exploring exotic wildlife in far flung corners of the globe but I never feel more at home than walking through a Kentish woodland with the dog.”


The South East Estate team is headed by Charlotte Williams who is the Estate Manager. The team consists of seven Site Managers and three assistant Site Managers – covering 115 sites, approximately 3300 hectares of wood!  The small team couldn’t operate without volunteer support, so we thank you for the time and expertise you give in helping to protect and preserve our woods.


Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to find out more about your local woods and ways you can get involved.


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