Jim Wilmer & Sons

Company information

Moving with the cycles

Jim Wilmer started felling trees and selling firewood around local towns 34 years ago, before diversifying into timber harvesting and contracting. Now, along with his sons, Jim runs one of the biggest timber-harvesting contractors in Europe.

Recently, an outbreak of a fungal disease in Larch trees resulted in an industry boom – masses of trees had to be felled to try and contain the epidemic. JW&S rapidly expanded its fleet of machines to cope with the extra demand.

“The way we clear forests is quite a science. We have to be strategic in how we approach each project”

David Wilmer, Director, Jim Wilmer & Sons

On the other side of the coin, demand from overseas is proving to be a challenge.

“At present, the pound being so strong against the Euro and Swedish krona has resulted in a flood of imported timber coming into the UK,” says Director, David Wilmer. “We have had to cut our operating costs to ensure competitiveness in the market to keep bringing work and winning contracts into the company.”

While the larch tree disease provided a business boom, it was relatively short-lived.

“The disease has been and gone so we will probably reduce the company size a little to suit demand,” says Wilmer. “We have to move with the industry cycles.”

David predicts that most future demand will come from an increased need for wood burning for electricity production. But the company’s breadth of services will also ensure more business.

“We do a lot of clearances for wind farms and the way we clear forests is quite a science – we are often given targets for the amount of log, pulp, and other timber products the client wants from the forest – we have to be quite strategic in how we approach the project, targeting larger or smaller trees, as necessary.”

  • 34 years ago Jim Wilmer began felling treesand selling firewood

“We then cut the timber and stockpile it for picking up at the roadside,” he explains.

Looking ahead, David is optimistic. “There is increasing demand for biomass – any timber product that can be burned for electricity – and that comes as a by-product of all of our projects.”