Why are you chopping down the trees? This is a common question we get asked whenever we're tree felling.
In fact the landscape we see today may look natural, but it has been shaped over many centuries by the people that have lived and worked here. The woodlands were a vital resource for the local iron, leather and bobbin-making industries, as well as providing timber and firewood.
Luke marking up the trees that were to be felled
Woodlands in Britain were historically managed by Coppicing. The word coppice comes from the French word ‘Couper’, meaning to cut, a method which involves cutting down trees and allowing them to re–grow from the stumps, known as stools.
One of our conservation projects this year has been at Hoathwaite, near Torver, which is a National Trust campsite and a tenanted farm managed by Sam Inman. This project has been to improve and protect biodiversity and water quality.
The start of the project saw the team coppice the alder trees along the stream edge, not only to maintain local traditions but to allow the dormant ground flora a chance to thrive without the shade from the trees.
The South Lakes volunteer group having a well-deserved lunch
Ben one of our upland rangers busy burning the brash
We then had a local contractor double fence the entire length of the field along with a nice new stock crossing. The tenant farmer Sam Inman allowed us to set back the fence from the beck to create a “buffer zone” protected from grazing stock. This provides places where plants can grow up, providing more cover for birds, insects and small mammals and helping to consolidate the banks with their root systems and prevent bank erosion alleviating siltation.
Some of the coppiced Alder stools with new growth
The lovely new stock crossing
One section of the new double fence line with more coppiced stools
Since the fence line has been erected the ground flora has started to thrive, with species such as Ragged Robin, Common Birds-Foot Trefoil, Meadowsweet, Sheep Sorrel, Marsh Willowherb, Red Campion, Meadow Buttercup, Common Marsh Bedstraw, Common Mouse-ear, Yellow Pimpernel, Red and White Clover to name a few.
The other section of double fence line full of vegetation
Without the generosity of our donors we would not be able to carry out important and beneficial projects such as this. Thank you for your support to enable us to continue our conservation work.