Our woodland is managed sustainably by coppicing on a 7 year rotation.
- Coppicing is the process of cutting trees down and allowing the stumps to regenerate. The stump is known as a stool and the shoots when grown, as rods which are harvested on a rotational cycle for either 7, 14 or 21 years
- Coppicing makes use of the natural regeneration of many tree species, including Oak, Hazel, Maple, Sweet Chestnut, Lime and Ash. Regrowth can be rapid, with new shoots growing as much as 5cm a day. Oak stems can exceed 2m growth in one season.
- Coppiced woods are divided into a number of compartments. One of the compartments, known as either a fell or coupes, will be cut each year within the rotational cycle.
- Coppicing has been practiced in British woodlands for centuries. As a result of the rotational cutting sequence, at any one time there would be coppice at various stages of regeneration within the woodland. In this way, wood is produced for a variety of uses, in a sustainable way.
- Historically, coppiced material would be used for ships and the construction of houses for example lathes, thatching spars and timber. Smaller items such as pea and bean sticks, firewood, charcoal, furniture, hurdles, baskets, fencing, hedging sticks, tool handles and brooms were also produced from coppiced wood.
- Coppicing is labour intensive and expensive to carry out. The wood produced tends to have a relatively low value and has been replaced by commercially produced products using wood from unsustainable sources such as the Amazon rain forest.
- Traditional skills have also declined along with the loss of traditional ways of life and the removal of dependence on local natural products.
- All of these factors have resulted in the demise of coppicing as an economic and sustainable woodland management practice.
- Less than 3% of woodlands are now coppiced.
Coppicing – Benefits to Animal biodiversity
- The demise of coppicing in most modern woods has been a contributing factor to the decline of many British woodland butterfly species and small animals such as the dormouse.
- Animals living in the woodland will be reliant on the variety of plants, fruits and nuts found growing in the area. Coppicing enables a wide range of herbaceous plants to flourish which allows animal colonies to expand.
- The number of individual butterflies, as well as the number of species of butterflies will increase in a coppiced area of woodland, as more herbaceous plants grow
- Many species of flora and fauna are favourably affected by coppicing. Hazel coppice is particularly good for Dormice.
- The coppiced re-growth provides aerial walkways of interlinking branches, with the added benefit of climbing and scrambling plants taking root such as Honeysuckle and Bramble.
- All of these plants offer food sources for small animals through their fruits or nuts, as well as providing the structural habitat necessary for these creatures.
- In our woodland you will find Dormice, badgers, foxes, field mice, shrews, red squirrels, barn owls, woodpeckers, voles, butterflies, moths and caterpillars as well as a whole range of birdlife.