Rackheath – Inner Tree Belt Coppicing

Friday 18th November 2016

This week ‘NFP’ has been at a site in Rackheath, – the inner tree belt – for three days, coppicing a wooded area that has been growing for about fifteen years. The wood is on a site that also contains a children’s play area, park grassland and footpath which connects different parts of Rackheath. The wood is a popular area for children and dog walkers but as the trees get taller and spread out their branches, walking through here had become more problematic, so we coppiced the trees to make walking easier.

There are two main benefits to this course of action, firstly; – for the aforementioned children and walkers, and secondly; – it will allow a lot more sunlight to reach the ground which in turn will encourage a lot more plant life, which in turn will attract more insects and birds.

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When carrying out woodland clearing/thinning, disposing of the cut material is always an integral part of the process. Usually we would burn the cut branches on site but because of our close proximity to the residential homes around us, we used an ‘industrial sized’ chipper to reduce the timber to a usable mound of chipping which we spread around the wooded area to create paths through the trees.

The end product is a much more open and airy feel to the wood, in contrast to the much darker parts of the wood belt that we have yet to tackle, but that will have to wait until well into the New Year.

Written by Alan Rae, Norwich Fringe Project Volunteer