Coppicing is the traditional method of woodland management whereby trees are cut down and then re-sprout from the remaining tree stump. The Malvern Hills Trust are using this traditional method of woodland management for many of their wooded areas around Malvern. New shoots from the stump of the felled tree can grow extremely fast and a coppiced tree (through the remaining tree stump) can live many times longer than if the tree had not been cut down at all. The harvesting of the tree occurs in a regular cycle, depending on the type of tree.
A coppiced wood is usually worked in sections, or "coups" over a number of years. Newly coppiced coups immediately let the light back in to the woodland floor allowing many woodland plants to flourish. The coups, coppiced in rotation, will each be at different stages of maturity. Each of these areas represents a slightly different eco system, perfect for different varieties of flora and fauna. This ensures that the wood has trees from all ages and a diverse habitat for wildlife and wild flowers.
Coppicing also ensures that there is a continuous harvest of hazel rods for the Coppicer. Hazel used to be the mainstay of construction and, although it has fewer uses now, it can be used in a wide variety of applications such as fencing, rustic furniture and hurdles. Coppicing also provides wood for making charcoal.
The Malvern Hills Coppice Network is a group of coppice craftsmen, woodland owners, managers, conservationists and green woodworkers, all committed to the restoration of coppice woodlands in the Malvern Hills area. They offer a wide range of coppice products and services, woodland craft courses and volunteering opportunities. For example, see The Stick Smith and Malvern Coppicing.