Following my retirement from the computer industry in 1984, I was advised to invest for tax purposed in forestry. The best deals were to be found where land was cheap and development and planting costs could be offset against tax. I therefore bought ‘Thormaid’, comprising 250 hectares (over 630 acres) of bare land in Caithness. This was managed for me by Fountain Forestry in an areas which become known as ‘The Flow Country’. I was in good company with snooker player Steve Davis and TV host Terry Wogan as neighbours, but we were mainly absentee investors, making occasional visits and seldom met.
All that was to change when a best friend Nigel Smith persuaded me to get shooting licenses and we started to make deer stalking and fly fishing visits enjoying my land’s hills and lochs. When I moved to Norfolk from Cambridgeshire, the Scottish Highlands became just too far away and so I traded it in for an eventual holding of 72 acres of very high quality forestry land just north of Norwich in Felthorpe. Laid out in model format with roads and mixed woodland compartments by Mr Page (who advised many land-owners in East Anglia and was to forestry what Capability Brown was to stately parks with Blackrow House his home ) it soon enthused me to embark upon a new career in active forestry which continues to this day. Now owning my own sawmill for sustainable timber harvesting, it has led to the planting of thousands of saplings which continues to this day.