Coppicing

It is autumn again and this year’s coppicing is under way. Our woodsman Jake (left), ably assisted by Jethro (right) are coppicing a coupe between the main ride and the cinder path. They will be here on Fridays and if you are asked to avoid the area while felling takes place, please do so and avoid allowing any dogs into the coupe when they are working.

This might be our last coupe for a few years. By the end of this season we will have coppiced nearly half of Lag Wood and it is time to take stock of the impact we have had on the diversity of trees and flora, and on the age-structure of the wood. There are some other reasons notably Chalara ash dieback. Infected trees pose an increased risk for woodland workers while felling and their safety is paramount. We have removed any risks to the railway line and to public rights of way. Our policy now is to let nature take its course.

The progress of Chalara Ash Dieback is changing the wood quite significantly now. While we are very sad to lose most of our beautiful ash trees to disease, Chalara is thinning out the canopy and improving conditions for a new generation of many types of tree to grow. We want to take the time to understand this process in more detail and review what the future role of woodland management should be. However, we will continue rotational coppicing along the sides of the “rides” in the wood as these, like our coppice coupes, have become  very interesting habitats for an increasing variety of woodland flowers and saplings.

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