Area of Standard and Coppiced Ash
In this area you will see some large or standard Ash trees together with some Ash stools which have been coppiced and are regenerating from the stumps or stools. Coppiced Ash can survive for hundreds if not thousands of years.
The following is a Brief Background of coppicing (by Edward Mills, Project Manager, Cumbria Broadleaves)
Coppicing has been traced back to Neolithic times by archaeologists who have excavated wooden tracks over boggy ground made entirely of coppiced material.
There are written records, going back to at least 1251, which describe the value and type of material cut for woods in East Anglia. Coppicing can provide a constant supply of material for a wide variety of uses. The material is of a size which is easily handled. This was very important before machinery was developed for cutting and transporting large timber, when anything more than 20 miles from a large river could only be used locally. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, coppiced woodlands provided industrial charcoal for the smelting of iron, and bark from which tanning liquors were prepared.
However, by the mid-twentieth century coppicing was in rapid decline and many coppice woods were replanted with conifers, or simply neglected.
Coppicing occurs when a tree is felled and sprouts arise from the cut stump (known as a stool). This process can be carried out over and over again and is sustainable over several hundred years at least, the stool getting ever larger in diameter. The shoots arise from dormant buds on the side of the stool or from adventitious buds developing in the cambial layer below the bark. Root buds can produce coppice shoots when close to the stump, especially in birch and hazel. The development of the buds is initiated by a change in plant hormone levels following removal of the crown or stem.
Species and growth
All broadleaves coppice but some are stronger than others. The strongest are ash, hazel, oak, sweet chestnut and lime whilst the weakest include beech, wild cherry and poplar. Most conifers do not coppice.