Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Coppice Shelter

In 2023, the Coppice Regeneration Project saw the completion of a purpose-built shelter for the Coppice compound at Westonbirt Arboretum, thanks to funding from The Friends through the continued support of members and donors. We would also like to thank The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust and supporters who gave directly to the Coppice Shelter appeal. The building is a stunning piece of craftsmanship befitting of The National Arboretum which has a historic tradition of coppicing in Silk Wood, with records dating back to 1292.

Coppice Shelter

Coppice Management

The art of coppicing ensures the regrowth of particular species by cutting back and thinning, giving less prominent trees and flora a chance to establish themselves. Westonbirt Arboretum has a historic tradition of coppicing in Silk Wood, with records dating back to 1292. From the early 19th century Silk Wood was coppiced to protect the landscape and biodiversity of the woodland and produced a mix of tan bark, small constructional material and fuel. Unfortunately, this important woodland management started to fade and as a result hazel growth, as well as a number of other species, began to suffer due to the heavy shade of larger trees.

Coppicing at Westonbirt Arboretum is essential in providing continuity of our traditional landscape, and supporting our rich flora and fauna. There are also opportunities for the interpretation of historical forms of management practised in Silk Wood and provide meaningful activities for groups engaged in the arboretum’s community programme.

The Coppice Shelter compliments Westonbirt's impressive charcoal kiln which has long been an important end process to this traditional woodland management. We look forward to sharing more about the coppicers and their work in the future.

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