History and future of coppice In Scotland

Anything & everything about coppicing, especially in Scotland.
T Tree
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Joined: 20 Sep 2016, 10:08

History and future of coppice In Scotland

Postby T Tree » 20 Sep 2016, 10:16

I would like to learn more about the history of coppice in Scotland? Was there a thriving coppice industry in the past, was it a management practice that was used and has somewhat disappeared?
What of the future of coppice in Scotland? Is there potential for the re-emergence of more widespread coppice management and people being trained in the relevant skills and practice?

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Re: History and future of coppice In Scotland

Postby donald.mcphillimy » 26 Sep 2016, 16:50

Coppicing didn't develop in Scotland in the same way as in England. Hardwood trees were cut down and did what they do, come back from suckers as multi-stemmed coppice. These poles would have been used for many purposes, especially feeding animals. In wood pasture, the trees were often cut at a height above browsing level as pollards. There is little evidence that it was done systematically though.

The exception was oak coppice for charcoal and bark for tanning. This took place all along the Highland Boundary fringe from Argyll to Aberdeenshire, over a period of around 200 years. The time of cutting was later than usual- spring when the sap was rising, which made the bark easier to strip off. And the rotation length was longer, around 25 years, as oak is slower growing.

As for the future? That's up to us.

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Joined: 05 Oct 2016, 10:34

Re: History and future of coppice In Scotland

Postby Treebeardie » 06 Oct 2016, 18:42

Plenty of evidence of managed hazel stools in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. Evenly spaced hazel-dominated areas, some being colonised by birch, others holding sway as almost pure hazel, many were 'coniferised' in the last fifty/sixty years as an obsolete land use. Dalbeattie had several 'bobbin mills' which probably accounts for the areas shown on Ainslie's 1797 map of the Stewartry

-- ed

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