Support our coppice shelter
Help us to revitalize a Westonbirt tradition, bringing history to life and ensure forty five acres of Silk Wood are sustainably managed.
To achieve this we need to ensure our committed coppicers have the facilities required to carry out their day to day activities. A permanent timber built structure will provide shelter from the elements throughout the year helping the coppicers to continue this important tradition, as well as store their coppicing equipment safely. The structure will also provide a drying area for material to be readied for the charcoal kiln.
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 practiced 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 management and the retort provides a useful demonstration area. However, there is still so much more to be done.