The tree-scape of the Forest is characterised by ancient coppices and pollarded trees.
Our volunteers continue the ancient management technique of coppicing to encourage new growth. They work throughout the winter, currently in Elgin Coppice, cutting coppice poles and protecting the stumps.
Our amazing pollards
Hatfield Forest has over 850 veteran pollard trees, each with its own management plan. The aim is to keep the trees alive as long as possible. Once dead, we try to keep the trees standing by turning them into monoliths, by removing all the branches. Standing deadwood is a rarer and therefore more valuable habitat than fallen deadwood. Once fallen, deadwood rots quickly and so the habitat is lost.
Dealing with storm damage
The Forest becomes a potential danger zone when strong winds threaten. We have to close the Forest and then undertake a survey of the main areas for damage before re-opening. Damage can range from small branches blown down, to much larger branches, branches and trunks splitting and even trees falling over.
The St Jude storm in October 2013 caused a significant amount of tree damage. Unfortunately a 250 year old black walnut tree, believed to have been planted during the Houblon's ownership and the only one in the Forest, was lost.
We try to leave the storm damaged trees and branches where they fall as they provide excellent habitats for a variety of species.