Friday, 30 January 2015
We have nearly finished cutting the hazel, dogwood, spindle and other shrubs of the 'understorey' in this year's coppice coupe.
We have started sorting the harvested wood into bean poles, firewood, hedging stakes, and rustic poles, plus hetherings and weavers to re-inforce our laid hedge. We have also received requests for den-building poles, path edging poles and logs for conservation log piles.
The whippy tops and trimmed twigs have been built into 'dead hedges', not to keep people out but to remind us next year where we stopped cutting, and to dispose of the surplus material. It will all rot down after a few years. Anyone who wants some of these twigs for pea sticks should email email@example.com and we'll cut some to order.
Smaller sticks are trimmed and sharpened for use as stakes for any number of small jobs round the site. We shall be selling as much of this produce as we can in April.
If you do walk into the area we have coppiced, watch out for the freshly cut stubs, which can easily trip you up.
In last year's coupe, alongside this year's, we have stacked up some of the unused wood as a habitat for invertebrates.
Several of our most spectacular beetles, such as this Harlequin Longhorn Beetle, need dead wood to feed on for the first few years of their lives. Although this is an image from wikipedia commons, I have seen this species at Filnore in summer, feeding on flower pollen.
Although the wood looks very light now, we found that once the leaves come on the trees it is still very dark in summer so we need to thin out the trees a bit more to encourage flowers and ferns on the woodland floor. This also gives the remaining ash, oak and maple trees more room to grow. Here is one ash tree after felling, on its way to being something different, such as charcoal or tent pegs. Ash is also one of the best firewoods.
Must remember not to chop this tree down, with its nest box.