The project begins for real!
After a long time in planning we are finally in the woods with enthusiastic volunteers. With the weather forecast predicting rain by lunchtime fifteen volunteers arrived at a muddy Garston Woods near Sixpenny Handley, Dorset. The wood is managed by the RSPB and has been regularly coppiced for around 400 years!
Over a hot cup of tea the project outline was discussed, tool safety talks given and then work could begin. With each volunteer being assigned a pair of loppers and a bow saw, they were quickly off harvesting hazel rods from the stools (the base of a coppiced) in our coup (the area of wood that is being felled). The cut rods were then divided into large and small diameters, tied into bundles and then stacked, ready for transporting to Old Sarum.
By lunchtime drops of rain were beginning to fall but undeterred we carried on cutting and dragging until the end of the afternoon, when the rain properly arrived. After an rewarding day we are on track to have the harvesting phase finished in a couple of weeks.