Traditional horse logging at Greno Woods

Wednesday 11th February 2015

Greno WoodsGreno Woods

The Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust have re-established the centuries old tradition of coppicing at Greno Woods, a site of ancient woodland near Grenoside in north Sheffield.

“We’re coppicing sweet chestnut on a 15 year rotation” said the Trust’s head of operations, Roy Mosley. “Historically this part of the wood would have been managed like this to provide a range of woodland products. It also creates a really varied structure which is great for wildlife such as woodland flowers, butterflies and birds”.

Coppicing is an ancient form of woodland management which involves felling the same tree, near to ground level, and allowing shoots to regrow from the main stump. (This is also known as a coppice stool).

Coppicing provides a range of benefits for wildlife: freshly cut coppice allows light and warmth to the woodland floor encouraging flowers to thrive which in turn, support a range of insects including butterflies, bees and wood ants. Fresh growth from the stools provides good cover for birds and mammals and just when the canopy is closing up and is less beneficial for wildlife, the cycle starts again.

“We will be extracting the timber by horse in order to protect ground flora and soil structure” said Roy “and to raise awareness of the traditional woodland management methods”.

Horse logging is ideally suited to steep or wet sites and, in this case at Greno Woods, where environmentally sensitive areas could be damaged by mechanical extraction. Horses are a low impact tool particularly when it comes to the management of ancient woodland and archaeologically important sites, and can minimise damage to coppiced stools and areas of regeneration. They can also work in small areas, keeping the extraction route to a minimum, and reduce damage to the woodland floor while not polluting with fossil fuels.

Horse logging will commence at Greno Woods week beginning 16th February for two to three weeks.

 

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For further information please contact:
Julie Gough, Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust: 0114 263 4335