Pat Buesnel


Pat joined the Forest in May 2012 and comes with many years’ experience and a varied background of rural community development and project management in Sussex.  The Conservators made a change to the role of Director, meaning Pat's priorities are to lead and support the staff and volunteer team,  develop our Education and Information ‘offer’, build strong links with the Forests communities and develop partnerships with organisations, groups and neighbours for our mutual benefit.  The development of a unique and locally focussed Forest Centre is high on the agenda and heralds an exciting phase in the history of the Forest.

Steve Alton

Conservation Officer

Steve joined the Forest in December 2013 and has over 25 years’ experience in the conservation sector. Originally a conservation officer for the Wildlife Trusts, he then spent 13 years running the UK programme of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank project. Steve oversees the day-to-day conservation management of the Forest, and has a particular interest in interpretation. He brings with him Zaf, an irrepressible flat-coated retriever cross.

James Clow

Office Administrator

James joined the Forest in January 2017, providing maternity cover for Charlotte Bain. He is responsible for, amongst other things, riding permits, the information barn, the volunteers, Forest events, the website and anything else that might need doing.

Kirsty Dirs

Clerk to the Board

Kirsty joined the Forest in July 2015. The Conservators made a change to the role of Clerk, splitting the post into two separate functions; Clerk and Finance Officer. As Clerk Kirsty is responsible for the Board and Committee governance processes, Licences and Bye-law infringements and handles planning applications affecting Ashdown Forest. She also supervises office administration and personnel matters. Aside from the Forest, Kirsty has a keen interest in shark conservation.

Louise Meehan

Finance Officer

Louise joined the Forest in the new standalone role of Finance Officer in July 2015. Louise is responsible for the day-to-day financial management at Ashdown Forest and provides financial support and guidance to the Board of Conservators.

Caroline FitzGerald

Grazing Officer

Caroline joined the team as the Grazing Officer in mid 2010. She was previously Heathland Project Officer for the High Weald AONB Unit at Flimwell. Caroline is currently assisted by a team of voluntary lookerers.

Joshua Bevan

Grazing Officer

Josh joined the Forest in July 2016. He graduated from Merrist Wood with a National Diploma in Countryside Management in 2011, since then Josh has been working in UK, Australia and New Zealand, gaining experience with all different aspects of livestock management and conservation activities. As the Grazing Officer, Josh assists the Lead Grazing Officer in managing the day-to-day running of the grazing project, working with volunteers and working alongside some of our active commoners. Josh is joined by Sky, a 8 year old Border Collie!

Dan Graeme

Grazing Assistant

Dan joined the grazing team in July 2016 after volunteering for them since 2009. He was brought up on a local dairy farm and has always loved working with livestock. In 2007 he made a career change and went from being a chef to working on local farms and shearing sheep. He has two collies to help him and a terrier aptly named Bracken.

Rich Allum

South Chase Ranger

Rich Allum joined the Forest in 2005. He obtained a degree in Ecology & Conservation from the University of Sussex before becoming a Ranger for East Sussex County Council and Bracknell Forest Borough Council. Before joining us, Rich spent five years as Heathland Project Officer in the High Weald AONB. Rich owns Scallywag a very handsome and personable cross-breed.

Michael Payne

West Chase Ranger

Mike Payne studied at Brinsbury College for three years and had qualifications on Countryside Management at both National and 1st Diploma levels. Mike has been on the Forest since 2003 and was promoted to a Ranger position in 2011. Mike is super with a chainsaw and a tractor and has many other skills learned as a Countryside Worker. Mike would like to have a dog as soon as possible.

Chris Sutton

East Chase Ranger

Chris Sutton is our our Health and Safety advisor and organises such things as maintenance of our vehicles, PAT testing, and fire and intruder alarm servicing. He also liaises with the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in regards to Forest fires. Chris also has a Diploma in Countryside Recreation. Chris owns Bobby, a young Sprollie who is learning the ropes of being a Rangers dog.

Mike Yates

North Chase Ranger

Mike Yates comes from a background of commercial forestry. He brings a professional approach to safe working in forestry operations and also to contract management. Mike started work as the North Chase Ranger in 2003, having served as a Volunteer Ranger for several years.

Colin Lutman

Countryside Worker

Colin Lutman has been the Forest tractor driver for over 18 years and his knowledge of the area is second to none - there isn't a slit-trench or drainage ditch that Colin hasn't got stuck in! He is now very experienced in all aspects of the Forest's machinery which includes high horse-power four-wheel drive tractors, forwarders, winches and forestry grinders. Like most tractor drivers, Colin is keen to do his own maintainance and repairs to the machines.

Tom Simon

Countryside Worker

Tom began working as a Countryside Worker in December 2013. Having graduated from Plumpton College in 2008 with a foundation degree in Countryside Management Tom went on to work and volunteer for different conservation based organisations, including West Sussex County Council Low Weald Countryside Rangers, RSPB Pulborough Brooks and the National Trust. In 2012, Tom completed an internship with the RSPB in Aberdeenshire and in the summer of 2013 worked for Horsham District Council at Southwater Country Park as an Assistant Countryside Ranger. As a Countryside Worker, Tom carries estate maintenance and habitat management on Ashdown Forest and also contributes to the Blog.

Ashley Payne

Countryside Worker

Ashley joined the team in early 2014 as a Countryside Worker. More info will follow in due course.

Joe Wallis

Grazing Assistant

Joe joined the team in early July 2011. He is with us on a part time basis working with the Caroline on the grazing project. Joe is helped by his young dog Ted!

John Ridley


John worked for many years at nearby Wych Cross Place. He joined the Forest team in 2010.

Glen Poland

Deer Programme Coordinator

Glen joined the Ashdown Forest in September 2016. Glen was brought up from a young age managing wild deer in England, when he left school in 2008, he made the decision to go to Plumpton college to achieving a National Diploma in game and countryside management, specialising in deer management. After leaving college in 2010, Glen continued to manage deer on large estates across the south east of England. Glen is very excited be running the new deer management program here on the forest

Legal Statement | © 2011 Conservators of Ashdown Forest
Website by Webecode Limited