Coppicing with Students & Willow Cutting with Volunteers
With Mark Shipperlee joining as a director we now have a new facet to our work – not only do we plant trees, but we are also now getting involved in woodland management work, through our project “Woodland Works”. It is early days but it was great to work with a group of students during national Student Volunteering Week. They joined us on Saturday 9 February at a woodland in Horsley where a traditional hazel coppice is being brought back into management.
Hazel coppicing was a regular form of woodland management up until about 100 years ago, providing materials for fencing, hedging, firewood and even for thatching spars, along with being a great source for walking sticks and bean rods. The Hazel is harvested every 7 years, by being cut back just above ground level, and allowed to regrow, as multiple stems. A woodland would traditionally be divided in to seven “coops” and a coop would be cut each year.
The students from NUSU (Newcastle University Students Union) helped with covering coppice stools with cut brash (to prevent Roe deer eating regrowth) and also helped to sort and gather cut material – stakes, poles, etc as well the cordwood from larger stems that is being stored on site awaiting the arrival of a charcoal kiln for processing.
A second event was held earlier in February, where volunteers gathered for the annual working of managing an abandoned Biomass Willow plot near Haydon Bridge. Some of the work is the annual coppicing of stems we have previously restored, and then working to get more stems back into production. Some of the material was taken for making hurdles, some for geodome construction demonstration – and then the rest made a huge bonfire (if left on the floor it would start sprouting again).
Join us for a Work Day
Another day at the Willow plot near Haydon Bridge is planned for Sunday March 31st, and it would be great to have a big group to help with dragging and burning the old material – the aim is to get every old stem cut and back into production on this day. Contact us for more details – firstname.lastname@example.org