Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum

Woodland Coppicing

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.

We already have our impressive charcoal kiln which has long been an important end process to this traditional woodland management. We can't wait to get started on building the new Coppice Shelter.


What we're doing to help

Thanks to your generous contributions and continued support through membership the Coppice Shelter is now fully funded.

You've helped us move to the next phase to revitalise a Westonbirt tradition, bringing history to life and ensuring forty-five acres of Silk Wood are sustainably managed.

We're looking forward to sharing updates with you on our blog, showing you how the Coppice Shelter develops into a permanent timber-built structure to provide shelter from the elements throughout the year helping the coppicers to continue this vital tradition, as well as store their coppicing equipment safely.

Look out for updates coming soon...

Coppicing area

Coppicing area

With thanks once again to all our generous supporters who have helped to fund this much needed resource for the Arboretum. If you would like to help support our ongoing Conservation, Education and Participation work, please consider making a donation today.

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