About Rutland Willows

Rutland Willows was established in 2000 by John Shone. He started making simple plant supports and hurdles (willow panels) for fencing as well as some animals as garden ornaments. He also was asked to run courses on how to make these animals as well as giving talks on the willow industry.

In 2007 his daughter Louise joined him and started with the dry stone walling and hedge laying elements. In 2011 Louise's husband Martin Keeley joined the team officially as he retired after 27 years in the Royal Air Force. Since 2004 he had been helping on the courses and shows and events that John attended but then he took on more of the willow work and learnt how to dry stone wall and hedge lay as the opportunities arose.

In 2013 John "retired" from Rutland Willows and handed over the reins to Louise and Martin. John kept his hand in all elements of Rutland Willows but more as a "consultant" than a worker right up to his sudden passing.

John passed in his garden on 29th April 2023.  He will be missed, not just by his family, but by the larger community. His breadth of horticultural, agricultural and rural craft knowledge, allied with his willingness to pass that knowledge on has helped a number of people find new careers.

His mark will be left not just in the memories of him sharing his stories, but also on the landscape as many of his dry stone walls and hedges are dotted around Rutland and the surrounding counties.