News & Blog
News & Blog
Hill Holt Wood
What We Do
Education & Courses
Events & Hire
Meet the Team
Steven Donagain is our CEO. After completing forestry training at Tampere University Finland he went on to work in the forestry sector in Finland, Russia, Canada and Britain.
After completing further forestry machine operator qualifications in Finland he returned to the UK as a forwarder operator before moving to Hill Holt Wood as a ranger teaching forestry to disadvantaged children. Since then he was responsible for running all the forestry and countryside contracts for Hill Holt Wood and writing and implementing management plans for the 1000 acres of land that Hill Holt Wood manages. Steve took the reins as CEO in June 2016.
Head of Operations
Oliver is the Head of Operations at Hill Holt Wood. He is responsible for all aspects of the on-site operation, including site maintenance, compliance and legislation and event management. He also coordinates our natural burials at Big Wood. After completing a degree in Environmental Studies at Newcastle University, he spent the first twenty years of his career managing various restaurants around Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire.
Oliver came to Hill Holt Wood as a volunteer looking for a change in career. Since then he has been employed as a ranger teaching disadvantaged children, before being promoted to Site Manager, utilising his experience in the catering industry to manage events at Hill Holt Wood. Bird enthusiasts should check out his twitter account for his stunning photos @woodmanoliver1
Head Ranger Ben is the proud handler to our resident Harris’ Hawk (Horst) and health and safety expert. Equally happy felling a mighty Oak or clearing bramble he’s one of our longest serving team members and a big fan of tricky trees. Ben started out as a Ranger at Hill Holt Wood and has blossomed his career through Senior Ranger to Head Ranger with a combination of hard-work and strong organisational skills.
Head of Finance
Our very own Wolf of Wall Street, Ryan Rousseau, came to us in March 2019. Head of Finance, active member of AAT, CIPP, CIOD and overall office quiz master at just 23 years of age, the wolf is destined for greatness. His professional success stems from an early age winning a Crest award in aerodynamics, achieving an honors degree in Business and Finance at the University of Lincoln and gaining successive promotions in retail management before taking the leap to Hill Holt Wood senior management. In his spare time, the wolf hunts two things: coffee and books, both of which will come in handy in his natural woodland habitat.
Head of Business and Quality
Hard work and intelligence are the hall-marks of our Head of Business and Quality. With her background in Architecture and Design, previously taking the reins of Design Team Lead, Hollie even put together a whole new Sustainable Building qualification from scratch; a key part of our Growing Up Green project that hit target a year ahead of schedule. Her namesake, (Sir Francis) was awarded a knighthood in 1581 and we believe it’s only a matter of time until our Hollie gets one too.
Overseeing our Study Programme and education can be Hard Times so it requires a deft balance of organisation skills and personality to be successful. That's why we're confident Sarah is the one for the job (and she used to work in a prison, we're sure that helps too!).
Engagement and Events Co-ordinator
A little bit of knowledge about a lot of things, Senior Ranger Gav started out as our administrator, then took over teaching Maths and English for several years before moving on to our exciting Growing Up Green Project where he’s helping 4000 youngsters to reconnect with nature and the green environment. Strong as an ox and a vision of heavenly good looks. He’s without a doubt the nicest guy and the best at everything.
Forestry and Land Management Co-ordinator
Forestry strongman and extraction expert Nigel can bend six inch nails with his bare (bear?) hands and fell even the mightiest of trees. His reputation on the forwarder is second to none, stacking timber into delicate piles then heading off into the wood before most have even got started. Rumours that he’s a hobgoblin are yet to be confirmed. He’s a big fan of AC/DC and he’s one of our hard working Senior Ranger team.
Student and Careers
It takes a special person to arrive at Hill Holt Wood on one of our programs and work their way up to Senior Ranger and that is precisely what Vicky is. As happy to muck in and get dirt under her fingernails as she is meticulously competing forms and paperwork she’s Hill Holt Wood all the way and has taught almost every subject we’ve ever offered. Vicky helps our young people achieve their career dreams with bespoke advice and guidance.
Hill Holt Health Co-ordinator
Joining the team after working as a ranger north of the border Ed is taking the reins over at Big Wood. He’ll be bringing a new perspective to the project at our sister site. He’s PC, but thats just how he rolls. Ed was quickly promoted to Senior Ranger team on account of his great work with the health project where he has helped dozens of people heal, gain confidence and learn new skills.
The youthful face of Hill Holt Wood is our nominated television Senior Ranger. He brings an affable nature and range of practical skills and knowledge coupled with his archaeologist background, we dig him so much we made him a Senior Ranger. He once rode an elephant called Geo, in Laos.
Our Design Team Lead, Harry, comes to us from Manchester with experience in social and environmentally sustainable architecture that is sure to do him well here! He’s a lover of comedies and football, and his all-time favourite song is ‘A Little Respect’ by Erasure.
A background in joinery and furniture building has armed Glastonbury regular Dave with all the knowledge needed to help teach our eager learners. Dave is also a caring and patient tutor for some of our learners with the deepest of educational needs. Dave’s meticulous and clever woodworking skills are behind our range of bespoke wooden products.
Pat's deft and precise eco-building skills are matched perfectly with his ability to engage our learners. He came to us with a deep background of working on sustainable buildings.
The man they call ‘Mario’ is both our friendly bus driver and lead garden renovator. He’s known for his unrelenting work ethic and good sense of humour and is a fine mentor to our young learners. Popular with the elderly people who benefit from his hard work in the garden he’s easily bribed with a biscuit and an offer of a catch up, a crucial side-benefit to the project.
Back for a third time to work on Countryside NK, a role which he originally fulfilled several years ago and has had several incarnations until returning back to the current form. John knows all there is to know about what we do (especially the Lollycocks Field site) and will be key to our Countryside NK partnership with North Kesteven District Council. John once wrote a poem about rain.
Countryside Ranger Liam works on the Countryside NK and Watch NK contracts keeping our district tidy and a pleasant place to walk. He loves his old war movies so we hope the next time he's out on the Stepping Out network repairing things it's not a Bridge Too Far.
Also known as 'Sawmill Bill 'Billy the Bull Whisperer' due to his encounters with boysterous bovine. Having completed his Level 3 apprenticeship in Trees and Timber, Billy is now our permanent fully fledged forester! Just as important is the fact he is knowledgeable about football and can be relied upon for an informed opinion of how his beloved Hull are doing.
The face of the front desk. Our Spice Girl claims that there’s no chilli she can’t eat and lives for her family. At the wood she’s the first face most people will meet (apart from the Green Man) so there’s lots of pressure on her to be both smiley and nice, fortunately for us these are two attributes she is not lacking in.
Ever re-homed a duck? Adele has. She’s a talented woodcarver who works hard to support our young people with their issues and their class work. Adele is a friendly face who will quack a smile when you see her so you won’t worry about coming to her with your problems. Adele is a key part of our safeguarding and pastoral process here at the wood.
Joined the team in October 2018, Will has a history of hanging out of the back of military helicopters and making complex calculations about weight distribution, all of which will come in handy at Hill Holt Wood where he’ll be supporting our learners to make the most of their potential. He can spot an erroneous item of Napoleonic uniform in an instant too, but we’re not yet convinced this is very useful.
Becky joins us as part of out learning support team. Her gentle yet firm tone shows she has the right personality to help learners reach their potential.
Woodcraft Education Ranger
When most people think of Hill Holt Wood it’s Alan they picture. He’s the wood personified and it’s commonly believed that if he leaves the company the wood itself will revolt. One of the most popular Rangers amongst staff and learners; he’s been with us since the very early days and is our longest serving Ranger. His self-taught craftsmanship is now receiving international recognition and he’s passing on his traditional woodcraft skills to our young learners. This man has been whittling spoons since before it was cool.
Enrichment Education Ranger
Like the first flowers of spring Maggie is a splash of colour that brightens up the day. Her cheery demeanour and contagious smile ensure that her sessions are far removed from most young people’s experience of schooling. Maggie is incredibly passionate about the state of roadsides in our local community and no Ranger can compete with her when it comes to the amount of rubbish picked up in a typical day on Watch NK. Maggie also hosts the very best woodland birthday parties at weekends and teaches British Values during the week.
Referral Education Ranger
If you need someone to work one-to-one with a learner, at any of our sites, teach Heritage Woodcraft skills, English or any other task then flexible and confident Michael the Mod is the man you call. Every business needs a versatile team player and he’s ours. Not a trait that goes unvalued we can assure you. He’s our Ranger for the direct school referrals where he gives quality time to youngsters at risk of being excluded from mainstream education. Invented a joke about Bourbon biscuits.
Animal Care Education Ranger
Learning support legend and tough cookie Claire is practical and versatile. She was so good at learning support we asked her to be a fully fledged ranger to teach our brand new animal care course where her sense of humour is much appreciated. Claire once saved a snail. A big one. Called Gary.
A new addition to our learning support team, at first impression Lilly is witty and pleasant, two attributes that go a long way in the wood.
There’s more to Dawn than a wicked attention to detail and a fierce protection of her newly cleaned floors. She’s proved to an attentive one-to-one worker, helping the students that need it the most in a calming and kindly fashion. She keeps nature tidy, fending it away from our hive café and wood hall and tidying up after our numerous school visits.
He’s been there and done it all. Now Andy is our reliable driver who picks up learners on his merry way to the wood. Without him there would be stranded teenagers across the Lincoln area and the wood’s various annoying jobs would never get done! He’ll fix mowers, strimmers, gates, fences, roads, roofs, wheels, printers, laptops… well…. you get the picture!
A helping hand making our tasty treats. Karen joined the team in June 2018 and works with Maz on events and the Hive Café in the kitchen. She has an impressive knowledge of the natural world and loves nature.
When all those about you are losing their heads, Deborah will be calmly keeping the books on account of her unflappable and reassuring nature. She’s the steady hand on the financial rudder since moving from our Gainsborough site and loves a cuppa and a biscuit. Well, who doesn't?
Functional Skills Ranger
Office mascot and cuddly stress relief, Border Terrier Brook loves nothing more than the attention of our visitors, something that is never in any short supply.