Coppicing is a term which means ‘to cut’ and is derived from the French word ‘couper’. Coppicing may look drastic, but is essential for much of our best-loved wildlife which may be threatened with extinction if this is not continued.
There are many different types of trees which when cut at their base, rather than growing one single stem, a number of new shoots are produced. In this traditional management system, trees are regularly cut to the ground and re-grow with several stems, providing the wood needed for a wide range of produce.
Coppicing occurs during the ‘winter’ months (from Oct to Mar) when there is little or no sap in the tree. Time between cuts varies depending on the intended use of the wood, but needs to be regular so that there are always some open areas where warmth and light can reach the ground. This is normally in 8 – 10 year cycles, with an area cut each year, and this must be maintained to ensure continuity of open space.
The open space encourages plant growth and insect activity, but this effect decreases yearly as trees re-grow until branches meet overhead, and light can no longer reach the woodland floor.
A variety of insects, butterflies and plants will return to the clearings, which otherwise would not be possible under the dark canopy of the more mature trees.
The birds, insects and butterflies will then move on from one newly coppiced area to another to complete their cycle.
Pondhead Conservation Trust, is a charitable trust which will secure the future of this woodland. As the coppice manager I continue to manage the woodland in a traditional and sustainable way.
All of the goods I make and sell at local craft shows use materials from Pondhead Inclosure. I also organise walks in Pondhead explaining techniques and traditions behind this ancient craft and I am often at shows around the New Forest area demonstrating and selling the goods I make. I regularly speak at functions where I am more than happy to share my knowledge and enthusiasm. Please telephone me on 023 8087 2679 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the facebook link to see where I am.