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What exactly is Coppicing ?

Coppicing is a very old form of sustainable woodland management. The principle of coppicing is that you harvest growth from the stump, or stool, of a cut-down tree at intervals in a manner that does not harm the tree but actually promotes further re-growth.

The shock induced into the tree when it is first cut, either as a single stem tree initially, or as a previously coppiced stool, causes multiple stem new growth which can come from dormant buds in the Basal area of the stump or can originate from the adventitious buds around the outer area of the cut stem, or both.

 Cutting the re-grown shoots at different intervals produces roundwood for different purposes depending on the tree species. The harvesting interval, called the ‘coppicing cycle’ or ‘coppicing rotation’ determines the type & size of the re-growth.

Most British hardwood species can be coppiced to one degree or another with Hazel, Willow & chestnut being the most common.

Hazel, Willow and chestnut are valued for coppicing because their timber is durable but isn't highly valued in larger dimensions as products are traditionally based on small/medium diameter material.

There are two main styles of coppice management:

1)        Pure (Simple) Coppice – where a single species is grown in a plantation style set-up and all other species excluded.

2)        Coppice with Standards – where a coppice species is grown as an under-storey with ‘standards’ from other species.

In terms of a coppice woodland environment, planned rotational coppicing produces periods of varying canopy cover during the re-growth rotation which varies the degree of light reaching the woodland floor and this helps promote bio-diversity in both flora and fauna. Coppiced woodlands, whether with or without standards, are often segmented into manageable areas of approx 0.5 hectares, called coupes, and these coupes are usually cut at differing intervals so that coppiced trees within the different coupes of a woodland are at different stages of growth which further increases the woodland bio-diversity.

Coppicing is, by definition, a sustainable method of producing material and as an example, well managed coppiced hazel can grow and produce material for significant lengths of time, often well in excess of 200 years whereas, unmanaged, derelict hazel often has a life span of only 40/60 years.

     All About the ‘art’ of coppicing

5,000 years of sustainable woodland management…!

Cottage Coppicing

Traditional woodland crafts