Tales from the Wood

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Hazel Coppice
There’s very few hazels up in the wood and they have been left to their own devices for decades so are in need of serious attention. Here though, is a little gem of a hazel coppice which, although ‘overstood’ for a while has plenty of straight rods ready for harvesting. These rods are known as sun-shoots and hazels throw them up regularly as part of their natural life cycle. Not quite the same as the new growth one gets with properly coppiced specimens, but they do never-the-less, provide some useful relatively straight material.

The owner of the coppice has very kindly agreed that I try and get it back into cycle and he’s really keen to get involved too. Deer browsing will be a real problem: the low vulnerable re-growth can be browsed of successively and the coppice stool can be killed for good. You can see here that I have taken some sun-shoots out already. Soon we hope to coppice back a couple of complete specimens and see how they get through a season with maybe a brash covering for protection. On the bottom right you can see I’ve used a woodbine (honeysuckle) to bind the hazel rods for carrying. I tried a number of traditional binding knots unsuccessfully, but finally this constrictor worked brilliantly. It avoids any sudden changes of direction in the binding material and so prevents fracturing; I really like it, it locks up like a ratchet strap and it certainly looks better than my usual orange bailer twine.