Tuesday, 4 February 2014
Steve and Derek harvesting poles
What is coppicing ?
Roger and Simon with saws and loppers
The idea is to harvest a crop of wood, small diameter poles, every ten years or so. Most broadleaved trees (not conifers) will grow again if cut nearly to the ground (coppiced) so you get a continuous production of poles. One of the most productive is hazel.
Simon and Roger in the plantation in pylon field
A different bit of the woodland is coppiced each year and the stools (roots) are left to re-grow
What is the wood used for ?
The poles can be used to make fences, hurdles, beansticks, plant stakes and supports, tent pegs, besoms (witches' brooms), furniture, baskets and much more.
a laid hedge
a hazel hurdle just being finished
Why re-introduce coppicing ?
Many woodlands were managed in this way until the second world war. Since then many have been left unmanaged and have become less varied habitats for wildlife. To bring these woodlands back into production and to increase the numbers of primroses, bluebells, butterflies, nightingales and dormice, it is often a good idea to start coppicing again. After 50 years the trees will have grown too big to be much use except as firewood or barbecue charcoal.