Winter is the time for coppicing when leaves have been shed and the sap is not flowing. In the Ruislip Woods this has principally been carried out over the centuries on the Hornbeam trees but on Hazel and Ash where they occur. The Oak were traditionally grown largely for timber and only felled when sufficiently large (say 70 to 120 years old, depending on how fast they had grown and what they were needed for). The Oaks currently appear to be in crisis with too many dying. This could be connected with a lowering of the water table. In addition there is widespread lack of regeneration. This was first noted in many ancient woodlands for about a 100 years ago, in spite of the fact that plenty of acorns are produced as can be seen by the number of oaklings that spring up just outside the woods, such as on Poor’s Field. Those that germinate within the woods mostly disappear.
Recent coppicing has been carried out near the Sherwood Avenue entrance to Park Wood and near the carpark in Bayhurst Wood. This is done with the Volunteer team (‘Vollies’) with the chain-saw work restricted to the Council team. Some of the cut wood has been made into charcoal or logs for sale to the public.
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