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  • Ken Watkins founder of the Woodland Trust raced an “Allard”

Ken Watkins founder of the Woodland Trust raced an “Allard”

Apart from being a talented engineer, Ken Watkins was a keen and accomplished photographer. He moved on to cine photography and made several wildlife films. One, on harvest mice, won him a BBC award for short nature films.

He was also very much into fast cars.   He competed in Formula 500 with a Cooper-Norton, and he later raced an Allard.   Combine harvesters, which in those days weren’t self-propelled, were sometimes delivered to farms hitched up to a Bentley (with Russell Baker as a motor-cycle outrider to clear the traffic off the lanes). Later, at the time when he was setting up the Woodland Trust, his road car was a buttery yellow Lamborghini (“my Italian friend”). It must have been fairly conspicuous on the woodland sites.

Ken retired from the engineering companies in 1972, by which time Western Machinery had become one of the largest agricultural equipment importers in the country.

As the site manager for the Woodland Trust estate in Devon I have inherited a number of old photographs and films  taken by Ken Watkins through his life.

At last nights talks I was able to show to members of the Motor Cycle Club  who organise the Exeter Trail each year some old photographs of Ken Watkins racing cars

Ken Watkins -Daily Mail International Meeting

Ken Watkins -Daily Mail International Meeting – Allard

WH v DCC - Race Blandford Camp - 1950 - K Watkins - HEALEY

WH v DCC – Race Blandford Camp – 1950 – K Watkins – HEALEY

K Watkins - Racing

One Comment

  • Chris Stephens

    30th May 2018 at 8:33 am

    I was delighted to come across this. As a former 750 MC mechanic and for 25 years a member of the Lineover Wood volunteers who received the Watkin Memorial Medal in 2003, I have been interested in Ken’s remarkable life and dismayed that his entry in the Woodland Trusts main site is so inadequate. I was assured that this would be amended, but that was many months ago and nothing has happened. The Woodland Trust do not seem to very interested in history.
    I shall now do some more stirring.

    Chris Stephens
    You might like to note that my book on the history of the Trust’s Bishops Knoll Wood while ” on sale” for the benefit of the Trust is difficult to find in the Trust’s shop and has never been reviewed so no one knows about it!!


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