Coppicing at Path Hill
Ancient woodland management skills are alive and well at Path Hill. Over the past month, we have taken on responsibility for a copse close to our centre on the Hardwick Estate. This area had been overgrown for some years, so our landlords on the estate were thrilled to see it come back into use.
Wikipedia defines coppicing as "a traditional method of woodland management which exploits the capacity of many species of trees to put out new shoots from their stump or roots if cut down. In a coppiced wood, known as a copse, young tree stems are repeatedly cut down to near ground level, known as a stool."
Path Hill instructors and students have learned how to cut back the overgrown stools in our area and process the wood into different useful lengths and grades. Together, we have made a store of hazel suitable for basket or hurdle weaving, bean poles, tree hay, or charcoal making.
We've now reached the end of the coppicing season, but it has been an enjoyable and productive time. We look forward to returning to it next year.