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