The Centre has been involved in the management of several local coppice plots. With the help of volunteers, our coppicing team have emulated our ancestors who coppiced the woodlands in order to grow hazel which was then, as it is now, utilised in many ways.
Managing the local woodlands was a very imortant task in the life of our Iron Age ancestors and while we no longer rely upon the woodland for our timber, fuel and foraged nuts & berries, it's important that wooded areas are properly maintaned and looked after. Regular cutting involved with coppicing stimilates growth of multiple stems and prolongs the life of trees while the resulting nut crop is important for red squirrels and wood mice. The trees themselves are hosts for rare lichens and fungus.
Hazel and related species thrive in most parts of Scotland and have been coppiced for millennia to produce rods for revetments, hurdle fencing, walking sticks, charcoal and abundant nuts but the practice of systematic management died out a few decades ago. Recently the value of hazel has been recognised again as an important species for biodiversity as well as for products.
Our commitment to coppicing the local woodlands is on-going but is always dependent upon funding and/or volunteers. We still maintain several sites around the Loch Tay area and would be very pleased to hear from you if you wish to volunteer your time to assist us in this important and rewarding work, please contact us. Also see our 'Get Involved' page.
Our first funded coppice project was part-financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Rural Tayside LEADER 2007-2013 Programme and Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust. As part of the project, the Centre organised and hosted a Coppice Conference on 19-20 April 2013. Presentations on the biodiversity and economic benefits of coppicing hazel, case studies in Scotland, the value of networking and future opportunities all featured in the interesting and well-attended Conference.