When Jack and Shane Coombes were 9 and 11 years old, they began their first job in forestry, working on an estate in Dorset during their school's half-term break. Their tasks included "brashing," or cutting back trees. As a reward for their hard work, they were allowed to fish in a nearby lake that they had been admiring all week.
After gaining experience in forestry at a young age, Jack and Shane pursued further education in engineering and forestry management at college while continuing to work part-time in the industry. Upon completing their studies, they expanded their business and began taking on forestry projects as sub-contractors across the South East.
Motivated to start their own business, Jack and Shane founded Coombes Forestry from a home office. They quickly gained traction, winning their first contract with the Forestry Commission for hand-cutting over a 5-year period. This early success helped establish Coombes Forestry
In order to diversify and expand its services, Coombes Forestry began sub-contracting for vegetation clearance in the rail sector. To support this growth, they invested in the company and hired their first employee, Matt Snow, who has remained with the company for 17 years. More recently, Charlie Snow, Matt's son, joined the company on a college placement and has since become a full-time employee.
To support the company's ongoing growth and success, Coombes Forestry became incorporated. This legal structure allowed the company to more effectively manage its operations and resources more, enabling us to continue expanding and serving its customers.
Coombes Forestry achieved its first accreditation, ISO 90001 for Quality Management, a testament to the company's commitment to excellence and continuous improvement. This achievement demonstrated Coombes Forestry's dedication to meeting the highest standards in quality management and customer satisfaction.
Coombes Forestry's growth continued as the company successfully tendered for a spot on the Network Rail framework. As a result, the company established itself as a Tier One contractor in Wessex and a Tier Two contractor in the Southeast and Western regions for vegetation clearance. This achievement further solidified Coombes Forestry's position as a trusted and dependable provider of these services to the rail industry.
We focus on expanding the forestry side of the business and invest heavily in efficient and cleaner forestry machinery. The efforts were recognised when we won a 5-year harvesting contract with Forestry England, the largest of its kind in South England. These achievements demonstrate Coombes Forestry's dedication to staying at the industry's forefront and providing its clients with the best possible services.
Coombes Forestry is awarded a contract to work on the HS2 project as a subcontractor to Fusion. To support this project, the company added its first two Road Rail Vehicles to its fleet. In addition, we obtained our full Network Rail POS license, demonstrating the company's commitment to meeting all necessary safety and regulatory requirements.
We continue to experience success in our efforts to secure contracts on Network Rail frameworks, being awarded spots on the framework for five regions: Western, Southern (Wessex & SE), Eastern (South), Eastern (Central), and West Coast Mainline. This represents an expansion from the two regions that we were previously on, allowing us to further grow our presence and reach in the rail industry.
Coombes has seen significant growth in a short period of time. Over the last two years, our turnover has increased from £12m with 37 employees, to a turnover of £44m and 62 employees.
We continue to invest heavily in our people, and technology, ensuring that we remain as market leaders in both forestry, and rail.
Careers at COOMBES
We're always looking for new talent, and are passionate about supporting the professional growth of our colleagues and creating a working environment where you can be yourself.
If this is something you’d like to be part of, please reach out to us, we’d love to hear from you.