Roger Draycott, Head of Advisory and Eastern and Northern England Advisor
From a farming background and with a PhD in pheasant ecology, Roger has worked at the GWCT since 1993. He spent many years undertaking applied research on pheasants (reared and wild) and grey partridges through Britain before joining the advisory team in 2012. Roger provides advice on game management and wildlife conservation to farmers, shoot managers, conservation organisations and the agricultural supply chain across eastern and northern England in addition to heading up the Advisory team.
Tel: 01440 821325
Mobile: 07879 443159
Mike Swan, Head of Education and Southern England and Wales Advisor
Mike has been a member of the GWCT advisory team since 1982, having previously completed a PhD in Botany. He runs his own small shoot in Dorset, as well as enjoying wildfowling, fishing and woodland stalking. He runs the GWCT’s tertiary education programme, and provides advice on game management and conservation to gamekeepers, shoot managers, farmers and conservation organisations across southern England, the southwest, and throughout Wales.
Tel: 01425 651020
Mobile: 07801 413209
Hugo Straker, Scotland and Ireland Advisor
Having gained qualifications in farming and forestry, Hugo has been living and breathing game and shoot management since joining the Trust’s Advisory Service in 1984. He is uniquely positioned to impart practical advice, having spent early years keepering himself, as well as currently running a lowground shoot in East Lothian. He was a familiar figure behind the success of many English shoots before returning to his native Scotland in 1991, where he remains actively involved with grouse moor management as well as lowground game enterprises the length and breadth of the country, including Ireland. Hugo’s massive training expertise is keenly sought by farms and estates requiring top quality best practice courses on all aspects of game management.
Tel: 01620 830230
Mobile: 07713 074147
Peter Thompson, Biodiversity Officer and Advisor
Peter is the Trust’s Biodiversity advisor, giving advice to farmers and land managers across England on practical methods of implementing conservation programmes developed by the Trust’s Farmland Ecology Unit. He is BASIS qualified and spent ten years advising farmers on agronomy before joining the GWCT in 1988. He sits on numerous committees including Defra’s Species Delivery Group and Arable Expert Group. He has recently been busy setting up “Farmer Clusters” across the country to encourage land managers to work together on a landscape scale, rather than as individuals on separate holdings. He is also the Hampshire coordinator for the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.
Tel: 01962 771348
Mobile: 07710 344340
Austin Weldon, Game & Wildlife Advisor, Central England
Austin first started working for the GWCT in 2003 as a placement student, working on lowland gamebird research. He later returned to the Trust after graduation to work in the predation department on the development of fox snaring hardware. Austin has worked in the field sports and conservation industries both in the UK and abroad, and now delivers advice and training to gamekeepers, wildlife managers and landowners throughout central England. In addition to his advisory role he also oversees the management of the GWCT’s shoot at Loddington, which acts as a wonderful demonstration of GWCT best practice guidance in action.
Tel: 01572 718763
Mobile: 07775 853925
Jennie Stafford, Farmland Biodiversity Officer, Northern England
Jennie has a wealth of farmland conservation experience and has most recently been working as an independent consultant, advising farmers and landowners on conservation, resource protection, habitat creation, wildlife management and grant schemes. Prior to that Jennie was with FWAG in the northeast. Jennie grew up on a farm and is a biological sciences graduate with BASIS and FACTS qualifications, and has previously been on the GWCT Northumberland and Durham Committee.
Tel: 01833 628443
Mobile: 07958 427664
Jessica Brooks, Farmland Biodiversity Advisor, Southern England
Jess grew up on a farm on the Isle of Wight and obtained BSc and MSc degrees at Reading University, undertaking research into farmland impacts on chalk rivers. Jess has previously worked in ecological consultancy, giving her experience of terrestrial habitat and protected species surveys across all four countries of the UK. She has also worked for the Environment Agency, undertaking aquatic ecology surveys and making recommendations to improve habitats and water quality. Her primary role at the GWCT is to work with landowners in the Allenford and Martin Down Farmer Clusters, whilst also providing support for the southern Advisory service.
Tel: 01425 651053
Mobile: 07494 904512
Matthew Goodall, Game & Wildlife Advisor, Wales and Northwest England
With a wealth of countryside management skills, Matt has managed landscape-scale conservation projects and has worked with a variety of conservation organisations to help boost biodiversity. Having spent five years delivering game management courses at Reaseheath College in Cheshire, Matt is looking forward to being back in the field and delivering landscape-scale improvements across the Welsh countryside.
Mobile: 07741 902021
Merlin Becker, Trainee Scotland and Ireland Advisor
Merlin originally hails from the Wicklow Mountains, Republic of Ireland, and this instilled in him a lifelong passion for moorland management, notably for red grouse and waders. From a keepering background in Ireland, past roles include working for the Irish Grey Partridge Conservation Trust in Boora Bog and as an Assistant Scientific Researcher for the GWCT at Drumochter, Langholm and North Wales. He is based full-time now on the Game & Wildlife Scottish Demonstration Farm at Auchnerran, Deeside, managing the wild bird shoot here, the best practice demonstrative elements of the farm, and GWCT Advisory Services in the North East.
Mobile: 07754 367209
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