Coppicing is a traditional and sustainable way of harvesting firewood from a woodland. Trees in a portion, or coup, of woodland are cut down near the base where new shoots grow in future years.
The Alsia Cross Market Garden holding includes areas of marshy grassland and wet woodland. Both of these environments are important habitats for plants and animals, so we’re keen to do what we can to conserve them.
Since 2003, we’ve been coppicing parts of our woodland for firewood and to encourage the growth of wildflowers. Since 2012, we’ve adopted a more strategic approach to conservation, helped by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Wild Penwith project.
In a survey, Stuart Coleman from Wild Penwith identified important habitats and species on our holding. Woodland plants on Stuart’s species list included southern marsh orchid, scaly male fern (an indicator of ancient woodland) and royal fern (a majestic but rare plant). On our marshy grassland, fast being reclaimed by scrub, he spotted the relatively uncommon smooth-stalked sedge.
Photo credit: Cornwall Wildlife Trust
Advice from Wild Penwith has helped us refine our coppicing programme. With the help of friends and a team of volunteers from Wild Penwith, we’ve been coppicing areas to benefit insects, bats and birds, as well as woodland plants.
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