Who we are
- Greenhouses erected
- Coldframes installed
- Staging units delivered
Woodpecker Joinery was founded in 1994 by Christopher Waltho, a dedicated and talented craftsman. From a farming background, an early memory was spending many hours helping his father lovingly craft a wooden greenhouse. His natural and creative flare for design became apparent during Chris’ school days, as did his love for and interest in working with wood. Chris went on to study woodwork at NVQ level and gained a City and Guilds certificate. Along the way many things added to career development; serving an apprenticeship at the age of 17 with a local joinery company manufacturing doors, conservatories and windows, and in the engineering field acquiring knowledge of design. A lifelong dream had always been to one day start his own business.
After being made redundant from the engineering firm, Chris applied for a Government grant. The application was successful and he became a sole trader based at his mother’s smallholding in Bramshall, Staffordshire. He continued in what he knew best – manufacturing windows, doors and conservatories. During the next three years a reputation for good quality products grew, as did a customer base. In 1997, after being approached by an aluminium greenhouse supplier to provide a bespoke cedar greenhouse, the first Woodpecker greenhouse was produced. Inspired by his creation, market research followed and it became apparent there was a keen British interest in gardening but few companies who specialised in cedar greenhouses.
The first prototype of the Bromley greenhouse around 1997
Early Summerhouse delivery around autumn 1995
Chris began to develop a website and engineer a range of Western Red Cedar greenhouses. Orders flowed in and eventually, it became too much work for one person. Realizing the need for help he approached his brother Louis, fiancée Louise and cousin Joe. Long hours, hard work and dedication were called for – together we were a strong and determined team. The popularity of our products exceeded expectations; we were full of optimism and looking forward to the future. That was until tragically on Christmas Day 2004 at the age of 20, Joe passed away in a car accident. He is sadly missed and always fondly remembered.
During summer months we had extra hands on board from University students Ross and Adam who would help out both in the workshop and installing our products. In October 2005 Joe joined the team, followed by Craig in 2006. All of the aforementioned would prove significant in Woodpecker‘s future. Thankfully our success over the next four years continued. After careful consideration a decision was made in order for Woodpecker Joinery to develop and move forward, we would need to move to larger premises.
In 2008, with nine employees, we moved to an industrial unit in Hixon, Staffordshire on which a lease was taken. Having additional space improved manufacturing efficiency and productivity. Demand for our products continued to expand and in 2009 we were approached by the BBC to produce a greenhouse for the Gardener’s World programme. Our greenhouse was featured in the series hosted by Toby Buckland. We have exported our products to Ireland, France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Falkland Islands, America and even as far as Australia! We import all of our PEFC certificated cedar direct from Canada. Over a period of three years our business continued to blossom and we came to occupy three units on the Industrial Estate, outgrowing even these. Time to move again…
Our reputation continuing to grow, we were honoured to be approached by the Head Gardener for a member of the Royal Family. In November 2012, with delight, the commission was accomplished and approved.
In December 2012, with 30 employees, we moved back to Chris’ roots, purchasing our own premises in Bramshall. Our business has expanded, having more orders than ever before and the luxury of being in our own premises. We have renovated the office space and workshops. Joe is Works Foreman, Louis Head of Painting Department, Adam our Manager, Ross our Imports and Exports Manager, Craig Head Site Foreman, Lauren our Head of Sales and everyone’s go to person and right hand lady, and young Vernon, although a little accident prone, a great asset in the office and very helpful to our team while he’s on site. We continue in the development of young people and training within the workplace. With special thanks to Mary (Chris’s mum) without your patience, time and help none of this would have been possible.
First garden building installed in 1994
First Dagdale greenhouse installed around 1998
We had remained, by in large, an internet based company. In order to be recognized further Woodpecker needed to bring our products into the public eye. A way for people to see and gain a feel for the quality and strength of our buildings. In May 2013 we took part in our first garden show in Malvern, followed by Royal Horticultural Flower Shows Hampton Court and Tatton Park. In the same year and wanting to expand our range of products Chris’ creative nature again prevailed. Developing a love of the Australian lifestyle – why not create a warm outdoor living space in which to entertain at home in the cold British climate? In July 2013 the prototype sun lounge was launched at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. Later this would become our popular Oceania Garden Room Range.
In July 2013 Woodpecker Joinery were granted a membership with PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). We maintain the timber supply chain of custody from sustainable forestry through to the buildings manufacture and installation. We are also recognised as a Member of the Timber Trade Federation.
In 2014 Woodpecker were once again privileged to be approached and receive a second successful Royal commission, this would lead to a third the next year as well in the following years other commissions for various Royal households.
We have undertaken projects for the National Trust including two large greenhouses for their Blickling Estate. Over the years foreign exports and sales have expanded, as have our workforce now of fifty. It was an exciting prospect to launch into a new venture. Having been approached by various representatives expressing interest in our products – everything would remain British made by ourselves but promotion and sales could take place in other countries. In 2015 agencies were established in Belgium, Sweden, France, and later agents including Switzerland, Netherlands and Australia. We have also undertaken several large projects in the USA.
From the beginning, it had been an ambition to be accepted for the world-class RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We are pleased to say this was achieved in May 2016 in which we gained a four star award and at RHS Cardiff Spring Flower Show – Best Tradestand Presentation 2017 and again in 2018.
Receiving the Best In Show tradestand award for the RHS Cardiff Flower Show 2017
Receiving a 5 star tradestand award for the RHS Malvern Spring Flower Show 2023
Work at the Royal household continued over a period of six years. On the 30th March 2018 we were extremely proud to be granted the Royal Warrant from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. We are the only greenhouse and coldframe manufacturer to have been granted the honour.
The Prince’s Foundation was formed at Highgrove in 2021. It is inspired by the Prince of Wales and his ongoing work and commitment to the natural world, creating a sustainable future for both the planet and our climate. The Foundation runs a programme at Barley Court, Highgrove of education and training for all ages and backgrounds, including building crafts, stonemasonry, textiles and fine woodworking. In 2022 Woodpecker Joinery were approached by the Foundation to manufacture coldframes for Dumfries House Estate. Later in July of the same year charitable donations were made of cedar greenhouses to the Castle of Mey Trust and in October another to Barley Court.
On the 2nd March 2023 at a memorable occasion in Cardiff Castle, Chris the founder of Woodpecker Joinery, was inducted as a Council Member for the Highgove Royal Warrant Holders Association.
Meet our show team Chris, Louise, Matt (a true lady’s man), Gregory (the cuddly lion) and Clonker (our prosecco loving Paddington bear lookalike) at any RHS Flower show – they’ll be pleased to see you and always happy to help in any way possible!
Our special thanks to Joe, Louis, Ross, Craig, Adam, Alan, Lauren and brothers Martin and Adam for your hard work and continued support and loyalty throughout the years. Our apprenticeship scheme and training for young people continues, developing the skill and diversity of our workforce.
In December 2015 we suffered the loss of Chris’ mum, Mary. She will be sadly missed by all of us and always fondly remembered, thank you for everything.
Chris’s Mum, Mary, at the farm
The Royal Warrant Holders Association annual banquet