Rolawn, Britain’s leading high-quality turf supplier celebrates its 40th anniversary this year – in that time, the company has sold and supplied enough turf to cover the pitch at Wembley a whopping 18,500 times.
In the first year of trading, Rolawn sold just half an acre of turf from an eight-acre site in Elvington, Yorkshire. By 1982, it was selling over one million metres in a year and by the mid-1980s, it was the largest turf grower in Europe with over 1,000 acres under cultivation in four areas of Britain.
In 2000, in response to an ever-increasing customer demand for high-quality topsoil, Rolawn entered the market and is now recognised as Britain’s leading supplier of high-quality, sustainable soft landscaping products including topsoils, barks, mulches and compost. It was the first company of its kind to supply soft landscaping products in bags – a far more convenient supply method for end customers.
A company with a strong culture of innovation and development, Rolawn’s in-house team has designed and built many significant pieces of machinery and equipment over the years. In 1993, the Rolawn Turfmaster® System was launched which enabled rapid laying of large volumes of turf. In 2003, the team designed and built the first of Rolawn’s ten revolutionary and unique 21-gang mowers – three times the size of industry standard machines. To support the topsoil side of the business, the team developed Rolawn’s own bagging plant in 2005 and in 2008, they launched a bespoke, cultivated turf seed drill.
By far the most innovative technological undertaking that Rolawn has devised and developed over the years is its Profresh® system. Starting life in 2000 as a relatively simple ‘cooling machine’ the process, technology and supporting machinery has evolved into a unique, patented and trademarked system that when used in conjunction with Rolawn’s specially developed growing process, extends the shelf life of turf by up to three times.
Reducing environmental impact is an integral and fundamental part of Rolawn’s business strategy and operating method and the company has recently been awarded a Green Achiever Gold award.
Rolawn was started by Leslie Dawson and son, Kenneth, in 1975 and is still very much a family affair with Leslie’s grandson, Paul Dawson, now at the helm. In addition, many of Rolawn’s staff have been with the company for over 10 years – one of which is Sales and Marketing Director, Jonathan Hill. “I started working for Rolawn as a Regional Sales Manager over 13 years ago and progressed as the company has grown,” he says. “There are many benefits to having a strong backbone of knowledgeable and dedicated people who have all had exposure to many sides of the business – not least that we are able to offer excellent products and service to our customers. Many of our customers have been with us for years – in fact, one of them still remembers cutting some turf from the eight-acre field where it all started in Elvington and going into the house to pay for it! We’ve progressed a bit since then …”
To read more about Rolawn's history click here.