Tottington Woodlanders

We are a registered charity which manages an area of ancient woodland next to the village of Small Dole near Henfield in West Sussex.

A Good Start To The Coppicing Season

 

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This years coppicing season has started off exceedingly well.

We are working in the area next to the charcoal kiln(Cant Q/R).  This is an area of relatively poor coppice.  This will be the third cut in the area since the Woodlanders inception, but the underwood remains low grade.  This is partially due to deer browsing, but mainly because there is too much shade from the overly dense canopy of standard, and mature coppiced, Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and Oak (Quercus Rubor).  Add to this the fact that the coppice was neglected and fast heading to high forrest when we started working in the wood in 1992.

In some ways this is highly fortuitous to us; just one of those serendipitous circumstances that looks bad, but comes right in the end.

Next year is the Woodlanders Silver Anniversary, and to celebrate the event we are planning a Heavy Horse  and Woodland Craft Day  in the wood on the 19th. August 2017.  The plan is for the horse to haul felled timber to a mobile saw bench in the wooimg_2115d.  There will also be a range of other greenwood and woodland crafts on display.  Your Committee has already started the early planning of the event.  To create logs for the horse to pull we will need to fell some of the large Oak and Ash trees.  Hence the good fortune of cutting in Cant Q/R this season with its overabundance of mature trees.
Two of our workers are now licensed to cut coppice using chain saws.  This will vastly speed up the process of coppicing.  Although chain saws  are noisy and not to everybody’s liking they do have a place when a lot of work needs to happen quickly.  It has meant that in a couple of weeks we have managed to cut between the two paths that define the area at the widest part of the Cant.  We will continue to work north in the space towards the point where the two paths join.  We will probably fell some trees this year and some next because there are limits to the amount of standard wood that can be cut in each quarter of the year; without applying for a felling licence.

 

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Although the chainsaw speeds up the cutting process it is not a lot of help when  comes to clearing and sorting the cut understory.  That tasks falls to our small
but dedicated band of volunteers; who turn up every Sunday during the winter.  (They do get a two week break at Christmas – we are not entirely heartless).  However, without this massive voluntary effort we would not be able to fund ourselves by selling garden products and various craft products made from the wood.Version 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all sounds like a lot of hard work, but in fact it is great fun.  Not only do we all keep fit doing work we enjoy, but there is a strong sense of camaraderie and of course the inevitable cup of tea around the fire.  Many of us seem to enjoy the social benefits of the work as the physical; and of course the spiritual benefits of getting down to and dirty with nature are well acknowledged.

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If you would like to join us on Sunday mornings during the winter get in touch through the Contact Us pages of the website.  Training and tools are provided.  All you need to provide are sensible clothing, a mug for tea/coffee and a willingness to get involved.  You do not have to be amazingly strong or fit, just keen.

 

 

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