Coppicing wood of 500 trees to be planted in St Peter field

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Over the coming weeks more than 500 trees are to be planted in a field above Moulin de Quétivel to create a coppicing wood.

Coppicing is an ancient and sustainable form of woodland management which involves repetitive felling on the same stump, near to ground level, to allow shoots to regrow from the main stump.

The new 3.3-vergée site is to be planted with sweet chestnut, common oak and hazel, which will be coppiced on a rotational basis.

Trust lands manager Jon Parkes said: ‘We plan to be harvesting hazel rods within ten years from this site, which we use for fencing, stakes and firewood.

‘There will also be damsons, sloes, crab apples and hazelnuts which can be foraged or perhaps sold to raise funds for other projects.

‘The oak and sweet chestnut will take longer, perhaps 20 years before they are ready to use, but our vision is to produce 100 per cent sustainable materials in the future which can be used either on our sites or to restore Trust buildings, while at the same time providing an important habitat for birds, invertebrates and rare flora.’

Coppicing has been traced back to neolithic times by archaeologists, who have excavated wooden tracks over boggy ground made entirely of coppiced material.

It was a common practice through the centuries from the 1200s, providing material for a wide variety of uses. Throughout the Industrial Revolution, in the 18th and 19th centuries, coppiced woodlands provided charcoal to be used in smelting iron.

By the mid-20th century coppicing had declined significantly and many of the traditional woods were replanted with conifers or neglected.

‘Woodland habitat is quite poorly represented in Jersey, with much of what exists growing on steep valley slopes as a consequence of being difficult to farm rather than being planned,’ Mr Parkes said.

‘Woodland cover accounts for around eight per cent of Jersey, compared to 13 per cent in the UK and a European average of 37 per cent. The Trust would like to see this percentage increase to over ten per cent and sees this new woodland area as a step in the right direction.’

The trees, which have been sponsored by HSBC Bank, will be planted to join up with existing woodland – Le Don Gaudin – off Mont Fallu.

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