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 Environment & Stewardship Advisor

Ryan Peach

Game Cover & Stewardship Seed Advisor

Steve Snape

From a young age, agriculture and the countryside has been a real passion of mine, whether that be helping my father on a local pig farm or helping with the management of local wild bird shoots.

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This inspired me to attend Sparsholt College, studying Game and wildlife management. After gaining my National Diploma I worked in an array of positions in agriculture and game management. These included working on two large arable farms and as a ghillie on a National Trust estate in the Royal Deeside.

In 2017, I decided to undertake further education at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, studying Agricultural management. My dissertation was involved with cover cropping and regenerative agriculture and during that process I spent some time out in the field with Ian, learning a lot in the process. I graduated in 2020 and was delighted to secure a position with Oakbank.

Get in touch with Ryan

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07540 184927
ryan@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

Farm Environment & Stewardship Advisor

Ethan Powell

Jonathan has vast experience of growing crops in the North of England, please give him a call for practical advice.

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Get in touch with Jonathan

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile 07831 528169

Ethan studied Agriculture and Crop Management at Harper Adams University, graduating in 2020.

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He has always had a keen interest in conservation, a passion given to him by his grandad and uncle while working on the family farm in Stonham, Suffolk – some of his earliest memories are of planting hedges with his grandad. In 2017 the farm won the Purdey silver award for game and conservation, with Tim being one of the judges.

After doing a placement year in agronomy trials as part of his degree, Ethan was looking for a career in agronomy. However, a well-timed call to Tim whilst job hunting led to him joining Oakbank. Improving profitability and biodiversity on farm is something which Ethan is keen to achieve through his stewardship work.

Get in touch with Ethan

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07376 254845
ethan@oakbankgc.co.uk


Farm Environment & Stewardship Advisor

Jamie Gunn

(Trainee) Regenerative Agriculture Consultant

Tom Olivant

A keen interest in the outdoors and wildlife saw me spending much of my childhood roaming the countryside. 

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I soon got to know our local farmer and was driving a tractor the day after I passed my driving test, before going on to complete 5 harvests on 3 farms across East Anglia. During my time working on these farms, I was introduced to game shooting and the wider management of the countryside, which developed into a passion for conservation, rural land management and shooting.

I decided to pursue this passion by studying Countryside Management at Harper Adams University, whereby I produced my dissertation looking at the new ELM scheme, followed by a Master’s degree in Rural Estate and Land Management. During my time here, I also completed a placement year working as a deer stalking ghillie and underkeeper on the Atholl Estate in Scotland, which further fuelled my passion for land management.

After completing my studies in the spring of 2021, a friend introduced me to Oakbank and I was put in touch with Tim and Ian. The company’s environmental and forward looking ethos really appealed to me and I was fortunate to begin working there later that summer.

Get in touch with Jamie

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 07484 011751
jamie@oakbankgc.co.uk

Growing up on a family farm in Lincolnshire, Tom has always been involved with and passionate about farming and the environment.

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Through a network of local farm businesses, he was able gain a diverse range of practical experience on farm from a young age in conjunction with studying Agriculture at Bishop Burton College. A desire to learn more about the industry led him to Harper Adams University, where he studied Agriculture with Farm Business Management, and graduated in 2020.  

During his time there, he was fortunate enough to spend his placement year based on a forward-thinking farm in Norfolk, which allowed Tom the opportunity to embark on an 8-month solo working holiday in Western Australia. He also completed a research project studying the factors affecting the uptake of Conservation Agriculture techniques in the UK. This sparked his appetite to develop his knowledge around the area of Regenerative Agriculture, which lead to accepting a role with Oakbank in November 2021. 

Away from the world of Agriculture, Tom enjoys shooting, cycling and snowboarding in the winter.

Get in touch with Tom

Office: 01480 890686
Mobile: 
tom@oakbankgc.co.uk

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

Huw Lloyd

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

Huw grew up on a smallholding in South West Wales spending his youth working at home and on neighbouring farms, hunting, shooting and playing rugby & cricket. 

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He left home at 18 and completed a degree at Harper Adams University in Countryside and Environmental Management, which included a placement year with the GWCT in Durham undertaking research on Red grouse, Black grouse, Grey partridges and upland land management.

After graduating in 2011, Huw completed a short work contract with the Environment Agency in Wales undertaking soil sampling on farms in West Wales for the Glastir stewardship scheme before joining BASC as the game and gamekeeping officer and latterly the South East regional officer. In this role Huw provided advice to BASC members on a wide range of shooting and gundog topics, prepared formal responses to government consultations, visited gamekeeping colleges, attended shows and gamefairs, organised events and courses, managed a nationwide gundog scurry competition and worked with local police forces to combat rural crime.

Whilst at BASC Huw provided advice to shoots and estates on land management to benefit game and much of this advice focussed on woodland management. Thoroughly enjoying this element of his role he decided to pursue a career in forestry and woodland management and studied part time for a PgD in Forestry Management at Harper Adams University.

Before joining Oakbank in January 2021, Huw worked as a forestry consultant for forestry and environmental consultants Lockhart Garratt for 3 years, where he managed woodlands for a variety of mixed rural estates and farms. This involved preparing woodland management plans, felling licences & grant applications, marketing timber sales and managing felling / thinning contracts, designing new woodland planting projects with associated grant applications, registering new woodland plantings with the Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) and entering schemes into the Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG).

Outside of work Huw also undertook the keepering for a private shoot just outside Chipping Norton for four seasons up to 2020. Through the shooting season he picks up on several local shoots in the area with his cocker spaniels. He also plays scrum half for Chipping Norton RFC and would love to play cricket through the summer (but doesn’t through fear of desertion from his long-suffering girlfriend). 

Get in touch with Huw

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


Woodland Consultant

Michael Ryder

Graduate Woodland Consultant

Max Battison

Michael grew up on a small holding on the North Kent Downs and caught the forestry bug by helping processing firewood for the local firewood merchant and arborist.

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He joined the Forestry Commission in West Sussex as part of their pre-college experience scheme working in the woods to gain practical experience before heading to Newton Rigg College to study Forestry. This Included a year placement at the Mersey Community Forest advising landowners on woodland planting and bringing existing woodland back into silvicultural management.

After gaining his BSc (Hons) he worked as a climbing grounds man for an arboricultural firm specialising in the take down of difficult and dangerous trees. Michael then Joined the Woodland Trust firstly as a contracts manger and then became the site manager for the Woodland Trust estate reserves in Norfolk and Suffolk spanning 20 years.

With the Woodland Trust Michaels passion for Forestry and Conservation flourished, actively managing SSSI, Ancient Woodlands and Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites to improve and build resilience into the reserves within Norfolk and Suffolk. He has also focused on silvicultural management of young plantations and mature secondary woodlands improving their structure and biodiversity.

Michael was also responsible for undertaking and implementing all tree safety inspections and works within Norfolk and Suffolk reserves for the Woodland Trust, whilst also advising his peers on matters regarding tree hazard inspections and pests and diseases.

Get in touch with Michael

Office: 01480 890686

Mobile: 07787 024274
michael@oakbankgc.co.uk

I grew up in a town just outside of Bristol and have always loved spending time outdoors, whether it be walking the dog, playing tennis or hiking and camping with friends. My interest in trees started at a young age from helping my Grandad, who lives in rural Somerset, split the winter firewood.

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After going through school and not knowing what I wanted to do, my Grandad suggested tree surgery, so I went to college to give it a go and never looked back. I studied Arboriculture at Bridgwater college, which involved working within the arboriculture industry as a groundsman and secondary climber for a local tree surgeon, focusing on mostly domestic trees with some small-scale woodland management.

After college I wanted to learn more and gain a greater understanding of forest management which lead me to study Forestry at Bangor University, where I also completed a placement year. For this I decided to go to Costa Rica to experience tropical forestry and conservation, working at a nature reserve for 9 months. I became heavily involved with the Bangor Forestry Student Association at university which provided lots of opportunities allowing me to attend international forestry conferences and student events in Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Italy.

Having recently graduated from university, I came across Oakbank whilst job hunting through the Forestry Roots programme set up by the Royal Forestry Society. The company really appealed to me because the amount of experience the employees have across multiple fields of conservation and land management, meaning I could learn from true experts within their field. 

Get in touch with Max

Office: 01480 890686

max@oakbankgc.co.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


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