Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Aerial Tree Rigging

CPD and short courses (short course)


4 days

Three days plus one day assessment to be arranged.


Get the knowledge, understanding and skills required to carry out aerial tree rigging in line with current legislation. This Level 3 Certificate of Competence is NPTC City & Guilds approved.

Topics you will cover include:

  • risk assessment
  • emergency planning
  • legislation
  • industry best practice
  • tree condition
  • working at height assessment
  • tree rigging

The module requires reading and interpreting information such as safety instructions and technical knowledge. To attain this qualification you must successfully achieve a one to one practical assessment with oral questioning by an independent NPTC City & Guilds approved assessor.


Equipment is provided for this course but you may prefer, for your comfort and safety, to bring your own climbing equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

All tree climbing personal protective equipment (PPE) and rigging equipment must comply with LOLER Regulations. This means that trainees must be able to produce evidence that their equipment has been thoroughly examined by a “competent person” in the last 6 months for climbing equipment and 12 months for rigging equipment, and also inspected weekly with an accompanying record which can verify this.

Equipment list for aerial tree rigging

  • Approved tree climbing harness in good condition. CE marked with leg loops
  • 2 x Climbing ropes - min 12mm, 35-50m long required with manufacturers eye and without any defects
  • 6 x self-locking 3 movement Karabiners
  • 5 x Prussik loops or split tails or similar
  • 1 x adjustable strop for climbing and rescue recommended 5m in length must have a manufacturers eye
  • 1 x Set of climbing spikes
  • 1 x Top or rear handled chainsaw

Personal protective equipment

  • A safety helmet (the HSE Arboriculture and Forestry Advisory Group (AFAG) recommends a mountaineering-style helmet complying with BS EN 12492)
  • Eye protection (complying with either BS EN 1731 or BS EN 166)
  • Hearing protection (complying with BS EN 352)
  • Suitable gloves appropriate to the task and subject to the operator's risk assessment
  • Leg protection and groin protection (complying with BS EN 381-5). AFAG recommends Type C leg protection for aerial work because of the high all-round chainsaw cut protection. However, where wearing Type C is impractical (eg because of the higher risk of heat stress associated with it), it may be appropriate to use Type A, where justified by risk assessment.
  • Protective boots with good grip and protective guarding at front vamp and instep (complying with BS EN ISO 20345)
  • Non-snag outer clothing. The use of high-visibility clothing may also be appropriate
  • As a minimum, climbers should carry a personal first-aid kit, incorporating a large wound dressing, barrier gloves, plasters and a whistle
  • Climbers should carry a knife with either a lockable folding blade or a fixed blade held in a protective sheath
  • Hand-cleaning materials such as waterless skin cleanser or soap, water and paper towels should be readily available.

If you are using your own equipment, our instructor will check that it is safe to use and complies with industry best practice and comes with relevant LOLER inspection paperwork.

Instructor / Student Ratio 1:4

Your tutor

Steve Woodley is a forester, arborist and green woodworker from Essex with 28 years industry experience specialising in urban and woodland tree management. Steve has been teaching ground and aerial units for us since 2004. His professional qualifications include BSc (Hons) Rural Resource Development, Arb Association Tech Cert, NPTC assessor since 2004. Steve is also passionate about hand crafted timber and keeping the skill of axing alive.

Along with Steve we use many excellent trainers and assessors and are confident our training more than meets NPTC City & Guilds standards.

Free parking is available on Writtle campus: we'll issue a permit to you and ask that it's clearly displayed in your vehicle.

Candidates are asked to meet at our King’s Lodge Centre before following the instructor to the training site. Please bear in mind we will be working deep within the forest, so bring a packed lunch and any other refreshments.

Who should attend?

The Level 3 Certificate of Competence is for individuals who use chainsaws as part of their work in arboriculture, forestry or other industries.


Please register your interest and we'll be in touch when new dates are arranged.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

At Writtle College, our courses blending classroom learning with hands-on experience in specialised fields such as sport, agriculture, horticulture, animal studies, equine studies, conservation and floristry.

Our Level 2 and Level 3 programmes are designed to prepare you for your future career or higher education pathways.

Study on our beautiful countryside campus, with dedicated resource centres and state-of-the-art facilities – and be a part of our supportive community.

Where can I study?

Writtle campus
Aerial view of farm building and fields at ARU Writtle

Our picturesque 150-hectare campus is situated in the heart of the Essex countryside.

Explore our Writtle campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

Standard booking


The cost includes equipment use and NPTC registration and assessment.

An additional charge maybe incurred if you do not accept the assessment date offered to you.

Contact details

Short Courses team
[email protected]

Entry requirements

You must hold qualifications in:

  • Chainsaw Maintenance and Cross-cutting
  • Felling Trees up to 380mm
  • Access a Tree Using a Rope and Harness
  • Aerial Tree Rescue
  • Aerial Cutting of Trees with a Chainsaw Using Free-fall Techniques

Before coming on the course please look through the Evaluation of current rigging and dismantling practices used in arboriculture research report RR668, this document will help you with your assessment.

You should be comfortable working at heights in excess of 10 meters.

This intensive practical course requires a good level of physical fitness and an ability to study written technical information.

By making a booking you are declaring yourself medically fit to participate in this course.

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Various dates throughout the year

Apply now

We'll be in touch when new dates are available.

Register your interest