Coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management which exploits the capacity of many species of trees to put out new shoots from their stump or roots if cut down.
In a coppiced wood a cop’s young tree stems are repeatedly cut down to near ground level known as a stool. It is sustainable.
Coppicing is not vandalising or damaging the wood but a positive management tool to help sustain the wood and our environment. Recorded coppicing was carried out in the UK nearly Six Thousand years ago. Not a bad pedigree!
Coppicing at Bull’s Wood
Bull’s Wood is the last ancient fragment of many and was referred to in the Hundred Rolls of 1279. Bull’s wood is one of the more important small Woods in the county of Suffolk with a very rich ground flora it is one of the best Woods in the county for oxlip. It has been an SSSI or Site of Special Scientific Interest since 1992. Bulls Wood has been a Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve since the mid 1970s and was purchased by Suffolk Wildlife Trust in 1983.
One of the main reasons it is still a wood is it is very poorly drained boulder clay and was difficult to farm for conventional agriculture.
Although Bull’s Wood is surrounded by an ancient wood bank no recorded finds have been discovered.
When Suffolk Wildlife Trust acquired Bull’s Wood one of their main aims was to reintroduce a lapsed coppicing regime. This was particularly important to maintain the biodiversity and nowadays a team of volunteers carry out this coppicing work each winter.
You too can help. Leave only foot prints and take away only memories. Also please keep dogs on a lead at all times. Wildlife is there year round.
If you are interested in participating in coppicing at Bull’s Wood, please contact Mark Tavernor who leads the work party on 01449 737 793.
Hard hats, tools and a safety briefing are provided. Bring a flask of tea and a sandwich too.
Work party members are entitled to a proportionate contribution of wood that is collected in compensation for their efforts. This is calculated as a percentage share based on the number of sessions a work party member has attended.
If you don’t wish to participate but would like to support Suffolk Wildlife Trust through the purchase of coppiced products, a selection of sustainable items are detailed on the Suffolk Wildlife Trust Coppiced Product Page.
Further information about Bull’s Wood and a walking trail map can be found at: www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org/reserves/bulls-wood .