Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Coppicing Workshop

Yesterday, Tuesday 16th December, we held our 4th coppicing workshop on the farm, in association with Greg Humphries (local woodsman and artist) and the Wild Penwith Volunteers from the Cornish Wildlife Trust. Several farm volunteers also helped, so we fielded a team of 15 people and got far more done than we expected.
Greg explaining the principles of coppicing to the group.
In the winter of 2010-11 we coppiced the back line of the three lines of willow windbreak along the south side of the market garden, and now after 4 years growth it was time to coppice it again.
The line of stumps after coppicing at the rear of the windbreak.
After coppicing the willow, the offcuts were sorted and processed (known as "snedding") into three products - 3-foot-long thumb-thick straight withies for re-planting in spring; foot-long lengths for stacking and seasoning for next winter's woodfuel; and a pile of reject brash for leaving to rot as a wildlife habitat in the field.

Cutting withies (left) and woodfuel (right).
Two lengths of withy soaking in our pond ready for planting come spring.
After the coppicing and snedding was complete, with time to spare and fueled by mince pies, we cleared around the willows planted around the market garden to free them from grass and bramble, to give them a better chance of survival. A very productive day! Many thanks to all who came along, and especially to Greg and David for their expertise and organisation.

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