Friday, October 16, 2009

Coppice Working Activities

Photos by Simon Brooke, 2001/2

Starting in 2000, we began restoration of coppice working in part of the ancient coppice area on Potterland Hill.  Over three years we cut three successive coupes and protected them with dead and laid hedge materials, and they were doing pretty well.  Sadly, in 2004, careless thinning contractors destroyed our protective efforts and reduced our enthusiasm.

Mike Gardner came and led courses for our annual October gatherings covering coppice and related woodland management, as well as the various uses for the harvested material. Because the hazel stools had been neglected, the material recovered was not of the highest quality, but we still managed to make a number of hurdles, some continuous-weave fencing, chairs, and other articles over the three years.   Clicking on any of the pictures will take you to other pictures. Lizzie made a ball frame of hazel, and covered it with willow, and planted it in the upper area of Taliesin as a living sculpture.

Ali Jeffrey carved a big beech log which produced brilliant foxfire glow in the middle of one of the most varied nights in memory - a ceilidh under canvas with thunder and lightening, hail, and beautiful clear periods!  During the clear periods, excursions were mounted to see the wonderland of glow-in-the-dark chippings and Ali's log itself glowing in a strange graphic fashion.

Peter QuelchIn November of 2001, the Community Woodlands Association held their annual gathering in Dalbeattie, and a number of the participants paid a visit to our coppice project.  A number of Reforesting Scotland regulars can be seen in the photos, including Peter Quelch, who was just retiring as the Forestry Commission's Native Woodlands Officer. He and Godfrey and I had a very rewarding walk through Potterland Wood, and he confirmed that it has most of the features to be expected in (overplanted) ancient semi-natural woodland.  He was particularly struck by the bit just below the stone bridge, but that bit isn't part of the FE-owned wood.  Peter is brilliant with flutes and recorders, and the gathering also included several other musical folk, notably Henry Fosbrooke, so there were plenty of musical campfire sessions.

I've recently been checking out the felled areas, and reckon that the first coupe has some good re-growth and is ready for felling again. With any luck, we'll get into the wood sometime after leaf-fall this winter, and maybe also start on restoration in another area with big neglected stools. The material will then be useful for a Spring course in hurdle-making and other uses.

We operate workshops and courses twice yearly at Taliesin Community Woodland Centre. For more information click here. or for general information about Southwest Community Woodlands Trust, click here
Do pay Taliesin a visit anytime and enjoy the space.
(click for map)

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