A clearing in a wood surrounded with hazel

Coppicing in the rain

A new site for the Gloucestershire Vale Conservation Volunteers today helping to coppice hazel in a wood on the Bathurst Estate. This is part of a larger project that FWAG South West is working on the estate. This particular part of the wood had a lot of hazel clusters which will be managed on a 20 to 30 year coppicing rotation.

The forecast for the day was pretty wet, so it was waterproofs from the start. The strategy was to sweep out in a semi circle around the clearing, coppicing the hazel with hand tools. For the larger, gnarled stems, Ed was on hand with the chain saw.

We wanted to save the best, straight cut stems as product that can be sold locally to hedge layers.

Hazel sticks cut to the same length leaning against a log
Product for bundling and selling to hedge layers

The unusable chunks were set aside for creating charcoal in the kiln which is on-site next year. The brash was used to cover the hazel stools over to give them some protection from passing deer.

The idea was to cut the multi stems as low as possible. This is done by first cutting down to about a foot and then hand finishing the stumps to a sloped shape to allow water to run off. We kept a maximum of four younger, flexible stems which can be layered down with pegs into the floor which will encourage re-sprouting of the tree in a new spot.

Stumps cut very closely to the ground and two remaining laying stalks left
Hazel stool cut low to the floor

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