Duke Pays Tribute to Blenheim Palace's ‘Quintessential Carer’

The Duke of Marlborough has paid tribute to his forestry foreman Nick Baimbridge after he received a Long Service Award from the Royal Forestry Society, praising him as the ‘quintessential carer’ of the Estate's woodlands and landscape. 

Nick, who has been working on the Blenheim Palace Estate since 1986, received the award from BBC presenter John Craven in front of a packed audience during the recent Countryfile Live show at the Oxfordshire stately home. 

Blenheim Palace has over 2,000 acres of Parkland, which includes over 100 acres of woodland which is managed by Nick and his team. The Palace is visited by 900,000 people a year. 

Under his care is one of Europe’s most important SSSI veteran oak woodlands. Some of the trees in the woodlands, including the mighty ‘King Oak’, date back over 1,000 years. 

Alongside the woodland management Nick’s team also grow and sell over 1,500 Christmas trees on the Estate each year. 

RFS President Sophie Churchill, who presented the award to Nick, said: “Everyone who comes here sees and wonders at the landscape, but it is the unseen work of people like Nick and his team that make it possible and viable. 

“The knowledge and skills which Nick has built up over the years are invaluable and the evidence of his great work is something we can all enjoy. 

“Forestry needs people like Nick and many others to ensure that our woodlands remain resilient and flourish into the future,” she added. 

Nick started work at Blenheim Palace at the age of sixteen as a student and is now the forestry foreman leading a team of four. 

“The reason I took up forestry was that I was an outdoor lad, interested in nature and I didn't want to be stuck inside working in an office,” he said. 

“The proudest moment that sticks out is being involved in the One Oak project starting in 2012, which at the time was the most studied oak tree in Britain. 

“I would encourage people to take up forestry, it is a great way of life and woodlands always need managing,” he added. 

John Hoy, Chief Executive of Blenheim Palace, said Nick has been a wonderful asset for the Estate since he first started there on a two-year YTS Forestry Scheme. 

“Nick has proven to be a wonderful role model for his profession and he has given fantastic service to the Estate across the last three decades. 

“It is vital the woodlands across the Estate are managed with care – not least because of the World Heritage Site status and the Capability Brown influences – and Nick and his colleagues have overseen that work and will continue to into the future.  

“We are very proud of Nick’s long service here at Blenheim Palace and we thank him for his huge contribution to the Estate,” he added.