High Weald

woodland_worker_making_palingCoppice is woodland where the trees are cut periodically and are left to regrow from the cut stumps or "stools", often producing multiple stems.

It is a highly sustainable method of producing rapidly growing useful wood without the need to replant. Although most native hardwood trees in Britain such as oak, ash, willow and birch will coppice freely, those coppiced in the High Weald are Hornbeam, Hazel and Sweet Chestnut.

Coppiced woodland traditionally provided two main crops - poles cut from the underwood and timber obtained from the standard trees. The poles cut from coppice wood are used for many different purposes ranging from firewood to fence panels, depending on the species and the age at which the poles are cut. For instance seven year old hazel is ideal for hurdles while fifteen year old growth is more suitable for hedge stakes and five year old Sweet Chestnut poles are ideal for trugs but fifteen year old growth is used for fence poles.

Some of the local producers and craftsmen based in and around the High Weald still use some of the abundant Sweet Chestnut for items such as hurdles, bird boxes, fencing materials, stakes, walking sticks, trugs, rustic furniture and charcoal.

More about the Coppice Industry