Although I have been working on nature reserves throughout Wiltshire (Southern England) since 1990 I have only photographed work on site during the last couple of years – since attending with a phone in my mobile phone! I am posting several sets of photographs from previous years for completeness. There will probably only one more task for me this year as all major work stops at the end of March to minimise disruption to wildlife: nesting birds etc..
We have just finished our last task of the season at Blackmoor Copse: coppicing a coupe within a deer proof enclosure and cutting back hazel and ash from the side of a ride. This opens out the area for ground flora and butterflies. We left a “pinch point” so that dormouse can cross the ride by way of overhanging branches as they are reluctant to cross on the ground.
We coppiced a coupe within a deer proof enclosure. Part of an extended management plan drawn up by the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Martin Hill is managed by the Government agency Natural England. It is quite a large reserve straddling the Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset borders. We coppiced an area next to a round barrow burial site (by coincidence) to open it out and maintain the maximum diversity of flora and fauna.
I have been working at Blackmoor Copse (mainly during the autumn and winter months) since 1990. There is a programme of coppicing using various cycles – five year, seven year etc. – to encourage the ground flora, which in turn maintains a diverse fauna. The reserve is also managed to provide favourable conditions for the resident dormice.
Coppicing entails cutting the hazel to ground level to allow the plants to send up fresh new growth (which actually also prolongs the life of the plants). Unwanted small trees such as ash and birch are removed at the same time. In some cases the mature trees, usually oak, are reduced in number. In past times the coppiced material would have been used as posts, stakes and in hedge laying, hurdle making etc..