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Woods Foreman retires after 43 years of service

One of Clinton Devon Estates longest serving employees, Graham Heaman, retires after 43 years of service at the end of September.

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Graham Heaman looking forward to retirement

One of Clinton Devon Estates longest serving employees, Graham Heaman, retires after 43 years of service at the end of September.

Working as Woods Foreman, Graham has managed the forests on the Heanton Estate in North Devon since 1968 when he was just 16 years old. Apart from a brief three-year break, Graham’s service has been continuous and saw him join the fight against a devastating tree disease, which threatened to wipe out swathes of woodland across the south west in 2009.

Graham played an important role monitoring the larch forest to prevent the spread of Phytophthera ramorum. Graham said: “It is very sad having to fell young trees, and it meant a lot of extra work for us at the time. We had to look after the land a lot more carefully and do a lot of replanting, but we were lucky we weren’t affected as badly as many other landowners.”

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A young Graham Heaman

Graham applied for the job at Clinton Devon Estates to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father, Herbert Heaman, had also worked for the Estate as Head Cattleman for a number of years.

Graham will turn 62 in October and has had a long and happy work life with many fond memories of his time at Clinton Devon Estates. His commitment to the land and hard work has been recognised on a number of occasions. In 2012 he received a Long Service Award from the Devon County Show, celebrating his then 39 year dedicated career in the rural agriculture sector.

Graham said: “I’ve really enjoyed my job on the Estates, John Wilding has been my boss for the last 18 years and he’s the best boss I ever had, I couldn’t wish to have worked with or for better people. Woodland management has changed significantly whilst I’ve been here. We used to do a lot of it by hand, but now we use a range of machinery. We can achieve more work in a day than we could have done in a couple of weeks back then. The machinery has certainly made the job slightly easier, but I’m looking forward to my retirement now. I’ve only got a small cottage in Merton with a little garden, but I’ve got a nice garden shed where I plan to keep myself busy and make some new bird boxes.”

Head of Forestry and Environmental Economy, John Wilding MBE said: “Graham has been a hard-working, committed and well respected member of our team. He will be missed, both in terms of his knowledge and expertise and his great work ethic, not many people know the land as well as Graham. We all wish him a very happy retirement.”

Clinton Devon Estates owns and manages 25,000 acres of land across Devon. As Woods Foreman, Graham implements woodland management to achieve a rich diversity of trees and age structure. The majority of woodland is made up of Oak, Douglas Fir, Scotch Pine, Norway Spruce and Sitka Spruce. The woodlands are vital in sustaining the local economy and communities, and the Estate has received international acclaim from the Forest Stewardship Council for its work.

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