Coppicing the Hedge

A huge tree casting a lot of shade

A huge tree casting a lot of shade – and it’s supposed to be a hedge!

Over the past three weekends, we have been working on a very overgrown hedge between Alvecote Wood and Betty’s Wood. In particular we have been working on several very large holly trees, about 40 feet/15 metres high. These had been cut about 30 years ago, but the hedge has not been maintained since then. In consequence these trees have grown huge, and were cutting out a lot of light on the southern boundary of the wood. Behind the trees was some poor sycamore scrub and some bramble. We tried to get hazel established here, but it was just too dark. Nothing would grow.

So this year we decided to coppice back this holly hedge, removing three enormous holly trees (some with up to eight stems each), a couple of sycamore, hazel and hawthorn to open this area up and let in light.

We have also cleared the bramble, and plan to plant this area up with some hazel, birch and cherry, and also encourage oak seedlings to grow between these trees.

The photos tell the story: before, during and after.

There are also two videos showing how Stephen felled a particularly awkward twin-stem holly.

Felling the large holly

Felling the large holly

After, hedge is coppiced and a lot of light coming in

After, hedge is coppiced and a lot of light coming in

Shows the light coming into the area

Shows the light coming into the area

Apologies that the first clip of this video is out of focus.

Red berries and raindrops

Guellder rose berries and leaves

Guellder rose berries and leaves

Guellder rose berries and leaves

Guellder rose berries and leaves
Guellder rose berries and leaves
Guellder rose berries and leaves

Guellder rose berries and leaves

Autumn colour is late coming this year and the leaves are dropping almost before they have had a chance to change, thanks to the blustery conditions.  One of the shrubs in our woodland that has produced spectacular colour, both in leaf and berry, is guelder rose (Viburnum opulis).  For several weeks, the leaves have been tinged with red, but they are now in full colour.  Today, the autumn light was just right – low sun, coming from behind, lighting up the translucent leaves and berries, with dark woodland in the background, and I managed to get a few shots.

Raindrops on leaves are also wonderful in the low autumn light – and I managed to find some beautiful oak leaves with little raindrops standing out like jewels, resting on a fallen log in lovely diffused lighting.

Raindrops on oak leaves

Raindrops on oak leaves

Raindrops on oak leaves

Raindrops on oak leaves

Raindrops on oak leaves

Raindrops on oak leaves

Raindrops on oak leaves

Raindrops on oak leaves

Raindrops on oak leaves

Raindrops on oak leaves