Born into a family of Kentish fruit farmers in 1925, Bil had a lifelong affinity with the land.
On leaving school he was expected to join the family business, but the outbreak of the Second World War changed that.
He joined the army and saw active service, being wounded during the Rhine Crossing in 1945.
After the war Bil attended lectures by the late Clifford Tandy, who was then President of the newly formed Institute of Landscape Architects, and who later became a long-standing personal friend.
‘His philosophy and aspirations concerning the need for the urgent designation of national parks and areas of outstanding national beauty were inspirational,'
My choice to study and work in this system for 30 years has not been a disappointment, and has more than repaid the joy I might have missed from picking cherries and scrubbing the hop's stain from my fingers!'
Bil took an external Masters degree in Landscape Architecture at University College London, graduating in 1968. He followed this with a Diploma in Arts from Somerset College of Art.
Working for Somerset County Council from 1962 until late 1974, Bil moved on to become the chief landscape architect at East Sussex County Council, although he returned to Hestercombe on several occasions - once in 2002 to meet HRH The Prince of Wales.
Bil (far left) meets Prince Charles