Neil has over 25 years of experience in the fields of conservation biology and landscape ecology, supported by degrees in Biological Sciences and Environmental Assessment and Management. He has applied his skills in a range of scientific, commercial consultancy and non-profit organisations and joined the Wychwood Forest Trust in January 2019.
Phone: 07561 639093 (office)
Countryside and Reserves Manager
Toby worked for a variety of conservation and educational organisations before joining the Wychwood Forest Trust, where he delivers rural skills courses, educational activities, and practical conservation activities.
Toby also works with our volunteers, engaging with and inspiring people to participate in conservation and other volunteering activities.
Phone: 07561 639094
Communications and Development Manager
Maeve joined the Wychwood Forest Trust in June 2022, having previously worked with a number of charitable organisations. She oversees all aspects of WFT's communications and helps co-ordinate the annual Forest Fair.
Phone: 07561 639095
Margaret is an experienced management accountant who started working with the Wychwood Forest Trust in Spring 2021. As well as taking care of financial matters, she is involved in membership administration and running the monthly Wychwood Forest Trust Lottery.
Chair of Trustees
David Astor CBE was brought up at Bruern. As a businessman he co-founded Jupiter Asset Management and Classic FM: he also worked for The Housing Corporation and has chaired a variety of non-profits. Locally he has been chair of The Theatre Chipping Norton, a trustee of The Oxford Community Foundation, a patron of The Mulberry Bush school, a Deputy Lieutenant of Oxfordshire and chair of The Bruern Parish Meeting.
David farms his own land and two other farms and is in the process of incorporating natural flood management on his farm. This involves planting 20,000 trees, installing woody dams, creating bunds and small ponds. He is totally committed to the area where his family are also based.
Roy Noble is a retired engineering consultant and has been a Trustee for 12 years. He was closely involved in fundraising for and developing Foxburrow Wood, our 20-acre community wood, and organised the planting of the 14,000 trees that are now maturing there. He has since led the wood's maintenance, and leads a group exploring the Wychwood Forest Trust's educational initiatives. He and his family provide invaluable support with parking at the Forest Fair.
Roy's other interests include classical music and he is treasurer of a local film making group and a model ship building society.
Harry St John
Harry has lived in North Leigh for 22 years, and has been involved with the Wychwood Forest Trust for at least 12 of them. After a 45-year career as a rural Chartered Surveyor, Harry is now retired. He has an allotment where he grows vegetables ‘badly’ and has been a Parish Councillor for North Leigh for 15 years, including several as Chairman. Harry now represents North Leigh as a District Councillor with WODC.
Harry is particularly interested in the Wychwood Forest Trust's educational role with young people from both rural areas and towns, and in working with local residents and landowners to promote better ways of managing their land.
Robert farms a 650 acre mixed organic farm in Freeland. The Wychwood Forest Trust was instrumental in assisting his first Countryside Stewardship application, leading on to the current Whole Farm HLS. Robert would like to share the experience he has gained over the years with the Wychwood project. With a love of the countryside and nature, he is keen to promote the benefits to wildlife achieved by linking fragmented habitats by means of wildlife corridors.
Henry Astor has recently been recruited as a trustee of the Wychwood Forest Trust. Five years ago Henry returned to his farm near Milton-under-Wychwood where he was born and raised. He is passionate about preserving the countryside and the history and heritage of the Wychwood forest area. He is currently focused on working with landowners to restore sections of the Evenlode river. He is also interested in connecting children to the Wychwood forest and helping them appreciate the wonderful aspects of their environment.
Cynthia Sweeney Barnes has been a member of the Wychwood Forest Trust for several years and is keen to preserve and enhance the local environment in which she, her husband and children work and live. Cynthia has over 25 years of experience in the banking and financial services industry, operating at a senior management level in The City for most of these. Cynthia is a member of the Finance Committee.
Roger spent most of his career in the international biosciences business where he has held director level positions in sales, marketing and human resources. On retirement, he studied environmental conservation at Oxford and has since been a trustee and reserve warden for the local Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), and trustee and Vice Chairman of the Chiltern Society. Now living in Witney, Roger is keen to support the Wychwood Forest Trust's commitment to the local natural environment.
Lucy has spent a decade working overseas in health and education for a variety of organisations, including Oxfam and the UN. Since returning to the UK in 2009, she has been living in Fulbrook. Now a busy mother of 4 small children she focuses on local community projects. She is a governor at Burford Primary School where she been instrumental in developing their outdoor learning programme, and trained as a Forest School teacher in 2015. Lucy has both project management and fundraising experience. She has a particular interest in helping develop the Wychwood Forest Trust's learning programme.
Ian Wilkinson studied farm and grassland management at Berkshire College of Agriculture and 32 years ago he joined Cotswold Seeds, a family business, founded by Robin Hill in 1974 and now based in Moreton-in-Marsh. The fundamental focus of the seed business is providing an information bridge between farmers and the scientific community and environmental bodies. Cotswold Seeds has built its reputation on developing forage, herbal leys, green manures and complex seed mixtures to improve soil health, animal health and ultimately human health through the food chain, and now supplies 15,000 farmers. It has always been part of Ian’s vision for the business to have a farm and three years ago, Cotswold Seeds acquired Honeydale Farm, 100 acres in the Cotswolds, which is being developed as a centre for food and farming diversity and enterprise.
Robert is an experienced Chartered Accountant, Finance Director and non-executive director, having served on the Boards of a number of private and public companies over the last 30 years. Following his retirement in 2016 after 14 years as Finance Director of Neptune Investment Management Limited, he now acts as a consultant CFO, as well as holding a number of directorships and trusteeships. He and his family have lived on a small farm near Witney since 1991, during which time many acres of trees have been planted. He has also owned other woodlands in England and Scotland, so maintains a strong interest in the environment in general and tree-planting in particular.