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Final cut of the coppicing season

by Rod Kebble

"Rods" of chestnut lie beside the "stool" from which new growth will come. Although the above-ground parts of the tree have been felled, the new shoots will benefit from the established root network which remains in place and will grow straighter and more quickly than a sapling starting out for the first time.

“Rods” of chestnut lie beside the “stool” from which new growth will come. Although the above-ground parts of the tree have been felled, the new shoots will benefit from the established root network which remains in place and will grow straighter and more quickly than a sapling starting out for the first time.

The sap is beginning to rise and Tankersford Copse has been echoing to the sound of Conway Churchill’s chainsaw for the past couple of weeks.

But enough of Conway, it is coincidently the end of the coppicing season as the time draws near for birds to begin nesting. The cut timber will be turned into fence posts — with the thicker segments used as strainer posts — or for firewood and charcoal, with the latter (made from wood felled earlier) being offered for sale later in the year.

The volunteers began coppicing trees in the copse about three years ago and those felled then will probably be cut again in about 15 years’ time, depending on the intended end use of the timber.

Pierrepont Farm has around 44 acres of woodland and — now that the Trust has had the farm for nearly seven years, the old dairy has been replaced and the herd increased in size — plans are being put into place to manage the woodland more effectively while at the same time improving habitat for wildlife.

In the meantime, Conway’s chainsaw will be heard through the coming weeks as the cut timber is processed into more manageable pieces.