1960s & 1970s
Founding of R.Hunt Ltd
In 1967, Roger Hunt left his apprenticeship at Basingstoke based, Wallis & Steevens who produced agricultural equipment to start his own business Anna Valley Tractors with the help of his wife Faith, they worked from their bungalow fixing tractors and combine harvesters for a number of local farmers. In 1971 Roger and Faith were awarded the John Deere franchise as John Deere began to expand its network of dealers across the UK and Ireland, the business is now formally known as R Hunt Agricultural Engineers Ltd. As the company continued to grow offering customers new machinery and servicing throughout the late 1970s more space was required and in 1978 R.Hunt Ltd moved into an ex-RAF site at Chilbolton, the premises of which still remain as Hunt Forest Group head office today.
1980s & 1990s
In 1981 Roger and Faith’s son Tim joins the R.Hunt Ltd team as an engineer, learning the ropes and the various areas of the business before latterly taking control of Hunt Forest Group as Managing Director. With the urge to reach new markets and cover more of the surrounding area, R.Hunt Ltd opened its second depot at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight in 1986. The opening of a third depot soon followed at Hartley Wintney in 1992, allowing the R.Hunt Ltd team to cover even more of Hampshire and surrounding areas of Berkshire & Surrey.
2000s & 2010s
Further Expansion West
As the R.Hunt Ltd business continued to grow at the start of the noughties, further expansion West followed as the company was able to acquire the Wiltshire area of responsibility and trade from a brand new depot at Tilshead on Salisbury Plain with Jamie Fisher appointed as branch manager. Further growth in the East moved R.Hunt Ltd into new premises at North Warnborough near Basingstoke in 2011. Awarded the John Deere homeowner franchise in 2015, R.Hunt Ltd was able to offer walk-behind and ride-on lawn equipment at all depots.
2019 – Today
In 2019 agreements were made and a merger was formed between the Hunt and Smales families whereby R Hunt Ltd and New Forest Farm Machinery Ltd combined to form a new company, Hunt Forest Group. With over 40 years as a John Deere franchise, New Forest Farm Machinery’s merger with R Hunt helped strengthen the customer experience and quality of service the company continues to offer. Adding 2 further outlets at Ringwood on the Hampshire/Dorset border and Sparkford near Yeovil to the dealership area. With joint expertise in Large Agriculture, Precision Farming, Professional Turf, and Homeowner business the merger established Hunt Forest Group as a frontline Ag and Turf dealer for the future.
2021 saw the acquisition of neighbouring John Deere dealership C Smart Agricultural Services, in line with John Deere’s dealer of tomorrow strategy. Bringing together both agricultural and turf equipment sales in a single business covering most of central southern England, whilst simplifying all aspects of parts and service supply to customers in the area. The expansion saw Hunt Forest Group nearly double in size, employing around 180 people in total and enabling the company to provide even better support to both our agricultural and professional turf customers across Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, and Somerset.