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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wed 16th Jan 2013 - Mill Copse, Yarmouth.

Braving a flurry of snow our Green Gym this week worked at another of the Wight Nature Fund's superb array of nature reserves, the woodland known as Mill Copse which borders the Western Yar.  Working with the IW Council's Ranger Service the group spent the rapidly improving morning coppicing a coup of Hazel Corylus avellana and also removing some Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus.    As you will see below by the end of the morning we were in sunshine on what was a perfect winter's day.  

The coppicing process involves the cutting of groups of the trees down to near ground level to form what are known as 'stools' from which fresh new growth with be stimulated to grow in the spring.   Once coppicing was a means to an end, supplying timber for a whole list of things including the making of hurdles,charcoal making, building and fuel.  Today we selected and removed suitable material for our future use for hedge laying, taking sturdy straight poles for stakes and whippy thin lengths for heathers or binders.  So coppicing is a traditional form of woodland management, it can look harsh but in fact is very beneficial to wildlife as the process opens up dappled clearings, the sunlight encouraging wild flowers to flourish, attracting bees butterflies and other invertebrates into the woods.  Crucially the cutting back of the hazel trees ultimately extends their lives providing habitat for decades to come. 

Many thanks to Mark for the photographs and editorial this week.

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