Coppicing and Hedge-laying Work Group

As part of  Highbury Park Community Partnership projects, a  work group has  been active under the leadership of the Park Rangers and David Papafopoulos,  since autumn 2010. This is now temporarily halted in order to ensure that nesting birds and other wildlife are not disturbed and will restart in September 2011. Anyone interested in this  project,  contact Tom at transitionkh@gmail.com for further information and to get on our mailing list for coppicing and hedge-laying information. There will be some planning sessions before work recommences.

Previous experience isn’t necessary. It is good exercise, not strenuous,  out in the open and we always have good weather!! The group is often led by the park rangers, and sometimes  we work withut them  as a work group.  We identify areas of the park’s woodland where coppices have been planted for use as hedging etc (hazel or ash). We then make a plan for each area and work in pairs cutting down  trees, stripping the logs or branches  and planting them as hedges to make paths through the woodland. We are trying to meet various aims – maintaining the woodland, supporting biodiversity and helping the use of the woodland for leisure purposes. We have already finished work on  one copse and have mapped out 8 other sites to work on.

In January  David of Highbury Community Partnerships said

“This project has been leaping along in great strides since October. The main aim is to rejuvenate the hazel and ash copses, but has other purposes too. This north-south belt of woodland was planted with hazel, ash, birch, cherry, pine and other trees in the 1990s, then left to itself. The hazel in particular is crowding itself, and could do with thinning. At the same time, clearing the stands of hazel will create woodland edge habitat for a variety of small critters. Thirdly, the hazel cuttings can be turned into hedging and fencing, garden poles, and other useful stuff.

Since October 2010 , groups of volunteers and trainees (led mainly by our splendid team of rangers)  cleared over 1000 square metres and used the cuttings to lay 100+ metres of hedge borders. Sessions took place every week with  learning  about felling techniques, safe tool use, hedgelaying, and habitat maintenance. Several of the trainees were students on NVQ courses, so the work sessions were  bona fide outdoor classrooms where people acquired certifiable woodland skills.

To find out more  and to find out where we are in the park ring Tom on 0790 493 1458 or contact David at hicopa@gmail.com  .

Click here for more information in the Highbury Community Partnership blog –  follow the coppicing tags.

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