NCFed Hazel Coppice Restoration and Improvement Seminar

A two day NCFed seminar at Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, May 13th and 14th 2015
Organiser: Brian Williamson

Coppicing as a woodland management practice has been in almost continuous decline for the past two hundred years. As a consequence, the supply of coppice materials has usually outstripped the demand. Until recently.

The greenwood revival of the last twenty years has stimulated a renewed interest in coppicing and more and more people have been looking to coppiced woodlands to earn their living. It should be a win-win-win situation. Rural employment; wildlife benefits; local products; carbon neutral; low road miles; good for the balance of payments – it ticks all sorts of good boxes.

In reality, it has been found to be much less simple than people have been expecting.  Problems with deer damage; restocking issues; bramble infestation; shading; access; quality control; all these and more have dogged the path of those trying to blaze the trail and many have fallen by the wayside.

This Seminar will bring together many of the foremost practitioners of coppice restoration and some acknowledged experts in relevant fields to share their experiences and establish some ‘best practice’ guidelines for restoring hazel coppice to a high, economically viable, standard.

The topics covered will include: access; standards; deer and bramble control; how hazel grows; genetics; restocking; cutting and more, and we will be looking to draw on the experiences of the audience to compliment the knowledge of the principal contributors.

Contributors so far confirmed include:
Penny Jones (FC), Head of Propagation at Westonbirt Arboretum; Brian Williamson, lead coppicer at the Arboretum; Ralph Harmer (FC), co-author ‘The Silviculture and Management of Coppice Woodlands’; Rebecca Oaks, NCFed Chair and co-author of ‘Coppicing and Coppice Crafts’ and Graham Rimington, The Deer Initiative.

Venue – Westonbirt Arboretum, near Tetbury, Glocestershire.

The Arboretum itself covers just over six hundred acres, of which about three hundred are semi-natural ancient woodland. Of these three hundred acres, some sixty have been earmarked for a return to coppice management in the Arboretum Management Plan and of these sixty, twenty five acres have received between one and three cuts since the nineteen nineties.

The successes and failures of this restoration work will provide a backdrop of worked examples for many of the seminars discussions.

The cost of the Seminar will be £35 to paid-up members of Coppice Groups affiliated to NCFed and £50 to others.

There are numerous hotels and B &B’s in the area for overnight accommodation ( ) and camping (for both tents and caravans) is available two miles down the road at the Holford Arms ( )

Further information will be posted up on this site and booking details can be had from Brian Williamson on

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  • By Cheque**
    Please send to Brian Williamson, 8 Chandos Rd, Stroud GL5 3QZ

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    Account name:        National Coppice Federation
    Bank:                         Co-Op Bank
    Account number:    65716928
    Sort code:                  089299
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