The APF Exhibition is the UK’s largest forestry, woodland, arboriculture, firewood, fencing, trees and timber trade show. As organisation continues for APF 2024, its exhibition secretary offers Forestry Journal readers an exclusive insight into how preparations are coming along.

WE had our second exhibitor site meeting in February and were pleased to welcome the new Confor national manager for England, John Bruce, to the event. Although the APF Demo is a separate limited company, we are wholly owned by Confor and John will take over the role of Confor liaison on the demo committee. The APF Demo has grown to be a huge event, and it is important that we work closely with Confor to help ensure that we do everything we can to promote the forest and arb industries. Confor will be hosting a number of topical seminars at the event in conjunction with the Forestry Commission. 

The show is obviously a great showcase for the industry and a good opportunity to invite politicians along to see what we are all about and talk to leading figures in the industry. I hope John enjoyed his first meeting, but he did comment that there was a lot of detail involved. 


The APF team are busy trying to bring together all the various loose ends so we can place orders, finalise maps, and confirm events. I paid our insurance premium for the event and it was eye watering. It is costing us about 400 per cent more than it did in 2016. Wet weather, COVID and cancelled events have seen a massive hike in premiums.

After my call to arms last month for someone to run our Forwarder Driving Competition, I am now in discussion with a company who will hopefully take on the role. Nothing is confirmed yet but my fingers are crossed. Although this company may support the competition it is likely we will need someone to run it for us, design the course, set it up, take bookings on site and provide judges etc. If you fancy taking on this role, please get in touch. We also heard that we might be able to do a bit of tree felling on site – something we have been criticised for not doing in the past.

Again, nothing is yet confirmed, but we do have a company interested in running felling demos, so hopefully this will come to pass. I hope you can see what I mean about trying to tie up loose ends! 

Our assistant chief co-ordinator Mat Box, who is in charge of timber supply, has recently visited Longleat Estate and with the assistance of our pole-climbing guru, Terry Bennett, has chosen our two new climbing poles for the Husqvarna pole-climbing competition, as well as 25 pieces of redwood timber for the AW Jenkinson and Tilhill carving championships. The felling, transport and erection of these poles is a very technical job. It is a very expensive mistake if you snap them! We have commissioned someone to video this exercise and we will be posting the clips on our social media and website.

The oak tree we are hoping to use for the climbing competition will be inspected in April. We are just finalising the rules for this. It will be a speed-climb event to collect a number of bells in the tree against the clock. Climbers will work in pairs and there will be some great cash prizes, as well as bragging rights for the fastest climber. We hope to generate a lot of friendly rivalry between tree surgery gangs, so start planning your teams now.

Exhibitor bookings continue to come in daily and by the time you read this we will have passed the magic 200 mark. The Fencing Village has been in particular demand and pretty much every major manufacturer and supplier of fencing materials and equipment will be there.

Entries for the chainsaw carving championship closed at the end of March and we now have the difficult decision of choosing the 25 best carvers to compete in September.

For the first time since 2002 at Lockerbie, axe throwing will return to APF. In a, hopefully, controlled environment, you can test your skills in friendly competition with your friends and colleagues.

If you have never tried tree climbing, fancy becoming an arborist and want to test your head for heights, we will be hosting have-a-go tree climbing. We will supply all necessary helmets, ropes and harnesses and you can get expert instruction on how to ascend into a tree. If you are bringing a youngster along, then they can also have a go.

Forestry Journal: APF will see the return of several fencing competitions APF will see the return of several fencing competitions (Image: FJ/JH)

We will have our third exhibitor site meeting on Wednesday, April 24, at 2 pm at Kings Court Hotel B49 5QQ. Any exhibitor who has not yet booked a site or anyone wishing to have another look at the site they have got is welcome to come along and chat to our team about their requirements.

We will have more events and things to see and do than ever before. You have no chance of doing it all in one day so take advantage of our on-site campsite and discounts for two- and three-day tickets. You can book these now via our website.
See you all next month.

For more information on APF 2024, visit, email Ian at, or call 01428 723545