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COPPICING

 
Sebastian Cox is at the very pointy end of showing us just how versatile and productive a coppice woodland can be. He is a true adventurer.
— Kevin McCloud.
 
 

Woodland management

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Coppicing is an ancient method of woodland management and is effectively pruning at ground level. It is a process which encourages fast tree regrowth, producing a completely renewable source of material while simultaneously boosting biodiversity.

 

Coppiced trees tend to have many stems, rather than a single trunk. Cutting takes place in winter, traditionally by axe or billhook.

The tree is cut close to the ground and at an angle, leaving as neat a stool as possible. By the spring, new shoots will burst from the stool.

The new shoots quickly become nimble young rods. These grow rapidly, producing an abundance of fast grown, straight wood.

These young rods will develop quickly into ever taller, thicker rods. Typically, after 5 - 12 years the tree will be ready for harvesting again.

 

Biodiversity

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As well as providing a renewable and self-replenishing source of fast grown wood, coppicing generates biodiversity. 

Coppicing, or the cutting of trees, floods the woodland floor with light. This allows an abundance of wild flowers to grow, which in turn attract insects, which attract birds, and so on. This creation of meadow land within a wood (for a short period) means there is space for wildlife to feed and breed near to their nests or shelter. As this cleared area re-grows, when the coppiced stool develops, your next harvest will open up another clearing adjacent to it, creating a chain of space for the wildlife now supported by the woodland. If you have a 12 year rotation, and divide the wood into 12 small plots (or coupes), not only will you have a perpetual source of wood you will also maintain strong biodiversity within the woodland. It’s one of a few examples of where man’s intervention actually encourages wildlife. 

Unfortunately, the process of coppicing is now more often done for biodiversity rather than for the material it yields, which makes it an oft forgotten and underestimated process. Our furniture seeks to change this and make coppicing more commercially viable, so that more of our neglected woodlands can be managed.  

 
 

Products of Silvaculture

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Coppicing is also the means by which Sebastian created his debut collection, Products of Silvaculture, in a bid to find a contemporary application for coppiced wood, a material with deeply ingrained traditional uses. It was through extensive experimentation with coppiced hazel the Sebastian Cox workshop and studio were originally created.