Return to the Coppice
The coppicing season started in the autumn, as the leaves and the sap began to fall. With the leafy shade gone, you can once again see the wood through the trees.
A summer of making and selling a range of products at fairs and festivals has kept all us coppice workers busy since Easter and the Coppice group’s final flourish of the year at the Wolverton Garden Fair was a great success.
One particular product cleft from small hazel poles is the thatching spar. The thatcher bends and twists these into something like a very large hair grip and uses them to secure the thatch down. A single thatched roof can use many thousands of these.
After a pretty wet October, there’s a slight sense of urgency (if there is such a thing in low impact coppice work) to get a good amount of the cutting done before the weather turns too wet and access becomes more difficult over what will shortly turn into muddy tracks.
The brambles will have been busy over the summer, providing something of a trip hazard over the woodland floor for the unwary and the leaf litter is covered with various fungi, taking advantage of the damp but still quite warm conditions.
One project that kept me busy over the summer is a nativity crib for the Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival. The stable has been made entirely out of locally sourced woodland materials. The shingles on the roof are of sweet chestnut and made with the assistance of dozens of youngsters who had a go at making one at the County Show, Rhythmtree and Wolverton. The crib will be on display at the Methodist Church in Brighstone from 5th December.