Cutting It Fine

Tuesday, December 1st 2015

Today staff and volunteers have been engaged in coppicing a section of Hazel trees, situated on a slope above Risedale Beck. After a brief discussion and demonstration of what coppicing is our volunteers got stuck in, removing the older thicker stems, allowing for new generation and growth.

Coppicing is a traditional method of managing woodland, the word comes from the French word coupe, meaning simply, to cut. The base of the tree, is known as a stool and the branches are cut and removed as near to the base as possible, in contrast to pollarding, where trees are cut at head height. Sometimes it is easier to start off pollarding the tree to take the weight of the top, as in the photograph below, then cut lower. 

Coppiced areas are higher in biodiversity, with many open-woodland species present, the increased light to the ground will allow stronger growth of the wildflowers found in this area such as primrose, of which there were already signs!, bluebell and wood anenome. Brambles are often found growing at the base of recently coppiced stools, these can provide protection for the stool from deer grazing and encourage smaller mammals and insects into the area. Fritillary butterflies are also commonly associated with coppiced areas.

Thank you to everyone who came out and helped today, especially in our rather inclement weather.


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