Our Board of Trustees


Portrait of John Blessington

John Blessington 

John was first elected as Chair of Trustees for Small Woods in 2005, and was re-elected 2008.

John used to be Shropshire Woodland Officer with Shropshire County Council and is now an Arboricultural Officer with the unitary Shropshire Council. He is a former board member of the Heartwoods subsidiary company.


 Portrait of Beverly Tyley

Beverly Tyley

Beverly has worked for thirty years in the public sector, most recently as a senior manager in three further education colleges based in Shropshire and the West Midlands. As a qualified accountant, Beverly has wide experience of financial and human resource management, information services, IT, quality systems, estates and health and safety.

She became the Treasurer for Small Woods in 2016 and is also the Finance Director (Trustee) for a Multi Academy Trust and Co-Director of a company specialising in management consultancy.

Board members

 Portrait of Gary Battell

Gary Battell

Gary has 45 years of experience working in the woodland sector, including working for the Forestry Commission, National Trust and Suffolk County Council. He is an advisor to the Suffolk Tree Warden Network, sits on regional committees for the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Forestry Society, and was a trustee of the Ancient Tree Forum.

In 2017 Gary received the Peter Savill award for services to British forestry.

We welcome Gary back Small Woods board member after a break, having previously served for 12 years. 


Portrait of Phil Vancouver

Phil Burton

Phil comes from Herefordshire and works with the Herefordshire Nature Trust, making a vital link with the Wildlife Trusts nationally.


Portrait of Chris Duncan
Chris Duncan

Based in Bristol with a small woodland in the Brecon Beacons, Chris has had a varied career in engineering and manufacturing including with Rolls Royce and Hewlett Packard.

More recently, he started a company making school furniture and has run high end joinery company that was a member of the British Woodworking Federation as well as being a founder member of the Wood Window Alliance.


Portrait of Aly May

Aly May

Aly is the co-owner of the Herefordshire based company ‘Say It With Wood’. She is a qualified and experienced forester as well as managing a team at their timber yard, producing multiple fencing and garden products.

Aly also plays an active role in managing an ancient woodland near Hereford which she co-owns.


Phil Tidey

Phil completed a Masters in forestry at Bangor University following a period of volunteering and project work with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. He started working at Small Woods in 2000 in the West Midlands and then in Wales, managing projects aiming to educate people about the benefits of well managed woodlands.

In 2005, he left his role at Small Woods to work with Groundwork as a community projects manager, then as technical manager for the Community Spaces grant scheme. In 2008 he rejoined Small Woods as Membership Services Manager until retiring in late 2016.

“SWA members are a diverse, interesting and knowledgeable bunch, and it has been a privilege to meet or otherwise communicate with probably half of the membership over the years. I was delighted to be invited to become a Trustee, and I will use my experience and knowledge to help steer SWA in its aim to promote the sustainable management of our smaller woodlands.”