About Us

In 2004, directors Tim Furbank and Ian Gould decided to take the plunge and set up on their own as Oakbank Game & Conservation Ltd.

Having started working together at a large agricultural merchant running their game cover department, Tim and Ian saw an opportunity to work more closely with farmers and land owners to make the best use of agri-environment schemes to improve wildlife habitats. From small beginnings, the business has now grown significantly and Oakbank recently added a Woodland Management department to extend our environmental capabilities.

Tim is well known in the Game Shooting world, as a regular contributor to a number of magazines and as a judge for the prestigious Purdey Awards. He is an active member of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, serving on the local committee and helping to organise local events.

Ian has increasingly become involved in the world of Regenerative Agriculture in recent years. He has a keen interest in how plants can be used to solve problems with soils and agricultural pests, plus the potential for carbon capture. Ian’s interest in cover and companion crops has taken him to the USA, France and Holland, with a wide network of contacts to discuss the latest trials results. He is a very capable and engaging speaker at events, discussion groups, etc

Our team has built steadily over the last few years and we now have a breadth and depth of experience that is hugely valuable to our clients. Oakbank are now often asked to contribute to projects that will shape the future of farming and the countryside, one that will undoubtedly have the environment at its core.

Seed and Advisory Team

Director

Ian Gould

Director

Tim Furbank

Ian Gould was a newcomer to agriculture, but it quickly became a very natural environment for him.

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The 3 years he spent at Harper Adams Agricultural College were very productive and hugely enjoyable.

Ian’s career has been pretty “seedy”, starting off at The Plant Breeding Institute (PBI) in Cambridge, then working for a number of seed companies in both sales and production roles.  He first worked with Tim at a large agri-business where they ran the Game Cover department together.

In 2004 Ian and Tim decided to start Oakbank, in an effort to provide on-farm advice to farms and sporting estates for the new environmental schemes. This has been both enjoyable and successful, with Ian now leading the company’s progress in the cover crop and natural capital areas. This has been a fascinating journey, learning about how plants can improve soil, reduce costs and also help with carbon sequestration.

Ian is married to Karen, with 2 sons, and when not working he still enjoys watching and coaching rugby

Get in touch with Ian

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07843 378701
ian@oakbankgc.co.uk

Tim is very much a man of Stirtloe, and still lives in the family home that he grew up in, just outside Buckden near St Neots.

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Growing up on the family farm he always had a passion for agriculture, the countryside and country sports. After getting his degree in Agriculture from Newcastle University he had to think about getting a job, as the tenancy on the farm was soon to expire. Fortunately he didn’t have to look too far afield and a four year spell as Group Secretary for East Beds & Maulden NFU provided a fantastic opportunity to understand farm business and to deal with farmers. He also learned that NFU meetings needed a strong Chairman to avoid them lasting forever!

After 4 years he realised the insurance side of a group secretary’s role was not for him and he then moved to Dalgety Agriculture as an agronomist and farm trader. He thoroughly enjoyed this work but when he was approached by Kings of Coggeshall to run their fledgling game cover and conservation crop business the opportunity to work with sporting estates was too good to turn down. Tim and Ian developed the Kings business under the ABF banner but in 2004 they took the plunge and decided to go it alone, starting trading as Oakbank Game & Conservation Ltd in January 2005.

Tim has been a stalwart of Huntingdon Rugby club for many years as Captain, Chairman and President and more recently VP Liaison (organising boozy lunches for former players down at the club!). Away from work, home and rugby, Tim's other passion is fly fishing. His knowledge of trout streams and pools is astonishing, mainly because whenever he is visiting clients he always asks if they have any fishing on the place! Tim's family consists of (long suffering) wife Becky, who runs the Furbank family’s ladies fashion business, Anne Furbank of Buckden, son George who plays rugby for Northampton Saints and England.  Daughter Alex who is currently studying to be a sports teacher. He also has three springer spaniels Twix, Wispa and Decker (spot the theme) and assorted chickens.

Get in touch with Tim

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07843 378702
tim@oakbankgc.co.uk


Ecologist, Woodland & Farm Conservation Advisor

Sarah Brockless

Farm Conservation & Woodland Advisor

Kirsty Brannan

Inspired by Sarah’s love of land, farming and wildlife, she embarked on an Ecology degree at Aberdeen University

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and has since gradually progressed back towards the south of England with a variety of roles, working in ecological research, disease management and technical farm advise for the Game & Conservation Wildlife Trust, Defra and Natural England.

Sarah’s fascination with the link between conservation and farming has led to many years spent on farms researching, surveying and counting everything from kale seeds, establishing wild bird cover through to radio-tracking bats, hunting for skylark nests and counting Grey Partridge.

Working at GWCT’s farm at Loddington and their Grey Partridge Project at Royston has also established a firm understanding and practical knowledge of wild bird game keepering and shooting, whether it is helping to run shoot days or a spot of lamping.

With Oakbank, Sarah works with farmers on Countryside Stewardship Scheme applications, both mid-& higher-tier, to achieve a balance between profitable farming and sound conservation. She also undertakes ecological survey work, along with  management plans, felling licences and consents for a range of habitats such as woodland, wood pasture, heathland and ponds, including key designated sites, such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest and Scheduled Monuments.

Sarah also runs two facilitated funded farmer groups and devises environment workshops for farmer groups and organisations such as The Princes Countryside Fund.

Get in touch with Sarah

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07803 205222
sarah@oakbankgc.co.uk

Kirsty has worked in farm conservation for twenty years, including with organisations such as the RSPB,

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the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Based in Oxfordshire, Kirsty is experienced in developing agri-environment agreements for arable, mixed and grassland farms that enhance their wildlife. She is involved in Catchment Sensitive Farming, Natural Flood Management and has a particular interest in planning wetland restoration projects. She is the facilitator for two farmer clusters, and able to provide professional surveys of birds, plants and butterflies where required.

Get in touch with Kirsty

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07379 285818
Kirsty@oakbankgc.co.uk


Farm Conservation & Woodland Advisor

Matt England

Game Cover & Stewardship Seed Advisor

Steve Snape

As a farmer’s son from Cambridgeshire Matt’s passion for the farmed and natural landscape began from a young age working on the farm,

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whilst also hunting, shooting and fishing whenever possible. His interest in history lead to a degree in Archaeology at the University of Manchester, before returning to the family farm in 2014. Having lasted just a year of being ordered about by his dad, he went to work as a business consultant at Brown & Co, where he obtained a good grasp of farm economics, business planning, grants and environmental stewardship schemes. Struggling with being tied to a desk as a business consultant, Matt considered either returning to the farm or joining the Army, however when a job at Oakbank popped into his mail box he jumped at the chance and hasn’t looked back since joining in 2016. Over past few years at Oakbank Matt has acquired a broad range of skills, initially advising on stewardship agreements but quickly picking up the agronomy and management skills for growing a range of stewardship and game cover seed mixes. Putting theory into practice by growing most of the mixes on his farm at home really helped develop his practical knowledge, although his dad thinks he trying to turn the farm into a nature reserve! Also working closely with the woodland team, Matt is able to advise on both woodland and game management.

BASIS FACTS Qualified March 2020

Get in touch with Matt

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07540 184927
Matt@oakbankgc.co.uk

Based in Dorset, Snapey is our man in the South.

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He has a wealth of experience working in the game cover sector as well as a lot of practical knowledge, being a keeper himself. If you are not sure what to grow or where to grow it then Steve is the man to talk to.

Get in touch with Steve

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07827 290322
steve@oakbankgc.co.uk


Game Cover & Stewardship Seed Advisor – Northern England

Jonathan Hall

Office & Accounts

Office & Accounts Manager

Charlotte Abbott

Charlotte has the toughest job in the office, keeping everyone else organised!

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She is responsible for all office administration and our accounts, so if you have any problems with invoices, payments, deliveries, please get in touch with her.

Office: 01480 890686
charlotte@oakbankgc.co.uk


Woodland Advisory Team

Woodland Division Manager

Ross Guyton

Woodland Consultant

Will Marshall

Ross is the son of an agronomist from Norfolk. After leaving school he studied arboriculture (the care of individual trees) at Easton College due to poor careers advice!

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He actually wanted to go into Forestry (the care of multiple trees - crops) and so then went on to Newton Rigg in Cumbria and finally Sparsholt College in Hampshire.

His career began Managing 1,800ha of MoD owned Breckland forest in his home county of Norfolk, before progressing to a Rural Estate Manager’s role for a private facility management company overseeing the entire 10,000ha East Defence Training Estate (DTE). At this time he also seemed to be providing regular tree and forestry guidance to the other 9 national DTE Rural Estate Managers responsible for the remaining 200,000ha within the UK, so in 2007 he was promoted to Head Office and spent 6 happy years travelling the UK, assisting the management of some of the most stunning places. During his time working across the entire DTE, Ross became a professional member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters and rediscovered his love for Arboriculture and specifically wood decay fungi. He therefore re-trained to become a Professional Member of the Arboricultural Association. Amongst many other successes at this time, Ross negotiated the timber harvesting gain share agreement with the MoD, which marked the beginning of the commercial harvesting of the previously undermanaged 30,000ha of MoD woodland. He also developed, rolled out and supervised the tree hazard assessment process for the entire DTE.

 

Subsequently he and his young family moved to the South of France for 3 years, where he worked as a self-employed arboricultural and forestry consultant in France, the UK, USA and even Cyprus. On returning to the UK, Ross worked as Senior Forest Manager for Savills in the South of England and Rural Projects Manager for Landmarc in Norfolk before joining Oakbank in May 2018 as Woodland Division Manager.

Get in touch with Ross

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07741 655785
ross@oakbankgc.uk

Will studied Forest Management and Conservation at the National School of Forestry in Cumbria

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where he developed a particular interest in the management of woodlands adjacent to watercourses.

While at university Will also worked on a couple of estates as a forester, performing spruce clearfells, coppicing, ride clearance and timber extraction work. One of the estates the head forester was also the game keeper and there Will learnt to work a woodland to be sympathetic to the interests of the shoot.

At Oakbank Will has produced management plans and felling licences for a mix of woodlands including on some Registered Parks and Gardens and Scheduled Monuments.

Will is also a trained drystone waller and has built walls over Lancashire, Cumbria, the Highlands and Yorkshire, and one day dreams of walling in the Cotswolds where the stone is said to be flat.

Get in touch with Will

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07957 761070
will@oakbankgc.uk


Independent Woodland Consultant

Anita Stone

Independent Woodland Consultant

Karen Russell

After completing a BSc in Countryside and Environmental Management at Aberdeen University in 1999 Anita worked with the Wildlife Trust carrying out practical conservation management on their reserves in Cambridgeshire.

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From there Anita moved into the agri-environment sector from 2000 to 2007 initially with the Farming and Rural Conservation Agency which was then subsumed into MAFF then DEFRA, before splitting off into the Rural Development Service and then Natural England. During this period Anita developed a specialism in woodland management and undertook an MSc in Environmental Forestry at the University of North Wales, Bangor. MSc research work took Anita to tropical forests in Ecuador and Uganda. From 2007 – 2016 Anita worked as a Woodland Officer for the Forestry Commission on grants and regulations, providing a thorough knowledge of this work from the regulators perspective. In 2016 Anita chose to become a self-employed Forestry Consultant, working primarily alongside Rod Pass Associates Ltd., covering land holdings in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex. Anita has experience in preparing and implementing woodland management plans, agreeing and supervising work programs with contractors, deer impact assessments, Countryside Stewardship applications and agreement management (including fulfilling CS monitoring report requirements), liaising with Natural England on SSSIs and Historic England on SMs. Her specialisms lie in managing ancient woodland sites in a sensitive manner to enhance their environmental value. This background gives Anita a holistic understanding of land management. Anita became a Chartered Forester (MICFor) in 2017 and is a full member of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (MCIEEM).

Qualifications

Countryside and Environmental Management BSc hons (1999) Environmental Forestry MSc (2005) Member of the Institute of Chartered Foresters MICFor (2017) Full member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management MCIEEM (2004).

Most Recent CPD

UK Forestry Standard Masterclasses – Forestry Commission European Protected Species – managing woodlands in line with best practice - update – Forestry Commission Bat roost scoping surveying in woodlands and trees – Anglian Ecology

Get in touch with Anita

Office: 01480 890686
info@oakbankgc.co.uk

Karen’s affinity for woods, trees and their management began with her family’s coppice with standard woodland.  These were actively managed for firewood, fencing and a range of other products and formed an essential part of the farm. 

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 It is also here, via work at a local plant nursery, Karen ran her own small nursery specializing in oversized amenity trees providing much needed funds for University. 

After gaining her Biology degree (specializing in Ecology and crop pests & diseases) in 1993, Karen joined East Malling Research (EMR) in Kent, as a plant breeder specializing in broadleaf tree improvement, genetics and conservation.  Whilst at EMR, Karen was seconded to DECC as a land use specialist to help develop the UK Biomass Strategy, gaining valuable experience in policy development.  Transferring from research to woodland management in 2008, Karen joined Lockhart Garratt Ltd as a senior woodland consultant then Rod Pass Associates Ltd in 2011, as a woodland sub-consultant working with a great team of consultants and contractors.

Her woodland management, research and on-going work to develop sustainable British tree and shrub seed sources, draws on the accumulated experience and insights gained from working with woodland owners and managers involved in many 1000s of woods across Britain and further afield. This in turn, aids the preparation of robust woodland management plans and in undertaking woodland management (involving Countryside Stewardship grants where appropriate) for a wide range of clients.

Get in touch with Karen

Office: 01480 890686
info@oakbankgc.co.uk


Independent Woodland Consultant

Rod Pass

Rod was born and bred in Congleton, Cheshire.  At the end of his A Levels he still had no idea what career to pursue, although he knew he wanted to go to University.

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Fortunately, his parents sent him to the Vocational Guidance Association down in London.  To his great surprise, they suggested Forestry as a possibility.  Having taken all the wrong subjects, Rod then worked for a local forestry contractor for two years whilst going to night school to get the A Level Botany that Bangor University required.  He spent a very happy 3 years in North Wales, playing a lot of hockey and living in a wonderful cottage right on the beach at Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey.     

Rod gained his honours degree from Bangor University in 1975.  He then worked as a forester in the Planning Dept of Durham County Council for just over two years.  He came to East Anglia in 1977 when he joined Eastern Woodlands, a forestry co-operative based in Norwich.  He then moved on to become Head Forester on a large private Estate in Suffolk for 22 years.  Following redundancy in 2002, Rod worked for Mike Tinsley as a private forestry consultant, which, on Mike’s retirement, led to the establishment of his own company, Rod Pass Associates Ltd in 2011.  The company steadily grew with the gathering together of a highly skilled consultancy team. In May 2017 Rod was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which although treatable, made him think about the future with a bit more focus! Talking to Tim and Ian at Oakbank it became apparent that there were great synergies between the two companies and eventually a deal was struck for Oakbank to buy Rod’s business whilst retaining him and his fantastic team of consultants.

Rod specialises in the management of Ancient Woodland Sites and SSSIs.  He is passionate about the condition of the English Oak and has assisted Forest Research with their work on Acute Oak Decline and the Agrilus beetle, in particular.

He is divorced with a grown-up family with one son (with two little grandchildren in Australia) and two daughters living nearby in rural Suffolk.  His interests include game shooting and fishing and now long distance flights down under!

Get in touch with Rod

Office: 01480 890686
info@oakbankgc.co.uk


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HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
CONSERVATION SEED SUPPLIER
OAKBANK GAME & CONSERVATION LTD

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