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Our Team

Our Team

Meet the team

Alasdair Jeffrey

DipArb, TechArborA – Founder & Managing Director

Alasdair is originally from the Scottish Borders and moved to the Cotswolds in 2008 to start AJ Arborists.
Before starting his tree career Alasdair studied at the University of Aberdeen and then worked in Brazil for six months. This comprised of working and studying in and around the woods and forests plus managing a number of large Eucalypus plantations.
Moving back to Scotland he worked for a small tree company that covered the Scottish Borders, Edinburgh and parts of Glasgow and starting firstly as a climber he then moved up to a foreman gaining a wealth of skills along the way in all aspects of tree surgery and arboriculture.
In 2014 Alasdair studied part time for a Level 4 Diploma in arboriculture at Merrist Wood college in Guildford. This further enhanced his arboricultural knowledge and understanding that now can be implemented into all aspects of AJ Arborists tree works.
Alasdair handles all quoting, consultancy and gets up a tree when he can!

James Bethel


James hails from South Africa and after running a tree team in London for a number of years he moved up to the Cotswolds to join AJ Arborists in 2011.
He has gained a wealth of experience and knowledge over the years which are invaluable to AJ Arborists and his fruit tree pruning is a particular specialty.
He works closely with Alasdair day to day overseeing all the works that go on, the machinery that is used and managing the ever growing team.

Hugo Pearson

Climbing Arborist

Although a Yorkshire man through and through Hugo has spent 10 years down in the Cotswolds firstly at the Royal Agricultural College and then working in horse racing and agricultural contracting.
Joining AJ Arborists in 2013 Hugo never shy’s away from tackling the biggest trees and hedges. His variety in skills is a real plus and he has become a massively important part of the team and will be for long into the future.

Ryan Branco

Lead Climbing Arborist

Adding to the continental feel at AJ Arborists Ryan comes all the way from sunny Bermuda. Joining in 2013 Ryan has taken to all the tasks thrown at him with both hands. Ryan has passed all of his NTCP tickets in 2014 and is now the full time lead climber at AJ Arborists. He has taken to it like a duck to water – watch out for this one he is going to be good!

Ben Cowell

Climbing Arborist

Ben is the most local of the team spending most of his life in Cirencester – however his first few years he was a Scot!
He joined the team in summer 2014 and has enjoyed a wide variety of tasks from hedge trimming (which is a particular skill of his) to native hedge panting. Passing his chainsaw and climbing courses in 2015 he is now champing at the bit to get up some big trees with Ryan and Hugo.

George Harper

Head Groundsman

George is from near Stroud and came on board in 2015. He has come on leaps and bounds in the short time he has been with AJ Arborists. From hedges to trees he can do it all and has the eye for detail. He also volunteers at the Westonbirt Arboretum which is providing him with invaluable knowledge of trees.

Graham Handley

Climbing Arborist /Groundsman

Graham is the newest member of the team joining in winter 2015. He has fitted in really well and been involved in all aspects of the works from climbing to stump grinding. He hopefully is set for a long career with AJ Arborists.

Ben Reynolds

Trainee Climbing Arborist

Ben has worked with AJ Arborists on and off for 3 years now and after doing a stint in game keeping the lure of tree work was too much and has jumped back on with the team. He is learning the skills of being a tree surgeon under the watchful eye of James and it won’t be long until he is catching Ryan up.


Team Mascot

Tilly has an eye for quality and never leaves a branch or twig on site. She also aids Alasdair in pricing all jobs and loves exploring the Cotswolds!