Coppicing for wildlife

A newly coppiced area surrounded by a deer fence

The northern half of Leigh Woods was historically managed as coppice with standards. Though this hasn’t been actively coppiced on a large scale for nearly 100 years. Consequently, it now has a closed structure.

Coppicing

Coppicing is a traditional form of management which exploits the ability of our native trees and shrubs to produce new shoots from the cut stump or stool. 
 
The stools were regularly coppiced giving a near continuous supply of new shoots or poles.  Depending on their size and the species, the poles were used for a wide range of purposes e.g. fencing, tool handles, furniture.
 

Wildlife benefits

In 2012 we started to coppice a small area of woodland each winter.  These areas are fenced to stop deer eating the new shoots. 

Today the focus is on creating a more open and diverse structure to the woodland which benefits wildlife, rather than the produce from coppicing. 

The extra light from coppicing encourages plants to germinate and flower which will attract insects. As the coppice poles grow birds will use the dense growth for shelter and nesting.  The fruit and nuts from plants such as bramble and hazel will provide food for Dormice and a variety of other small mammals and birds.