SSSI Wetland & Coppice Management

We have recently undertaken a project on private land to coppice a large area of Goat Willow (Salix Caprea), often known as Pussy Willow or Sallow. This tree is a pioneer plant and colonises wild or derelict areas, particularly wetlands. It thrives in waterlogged or marshy conditions. We have coppiced the overgrown trees to stumps or ‘stools’ – the new shoots will sprout from the clusters of cuts and form the new trees.

The site is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and under the management of Natural England. We had to be mindful of the fragile environment in which we were working and carry out the work with a minimum of disturbance to the habitat and the ground. All arisings were chipped using our light weight chipper with flotation tyres and spread on site. The wood was cut in to cords and stacked for extraction.

The site is also colonised by Silver Birch and Hazel coppice in areas. The Hazel coppice is overgrown and will require re-coppicing in the near future to prevent the stems from breaking out. There is little demand nowadays for products made from Hazel coppice. Previous generations managed Hazel coppice to produce ‘hurdles’ (hand-made fence sections made by weaving split Hazel stems in to a lattice work) for containing livestock and numerous other products that are now no longer required. Many ancient Hazel coppices date back to the 17th /18th. Century have not been managed as such for 60 years or more.


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