The Monday team were working hard again at Lyndon yesterday, and what a great day it was! The weather forecast predicted rain all day, but we were very lucky once again and it was a beautiful day. The morning dawned to the first frost of the year, and, whilst it was chilly, it remained dry throughout the day. Lots of hard work, plus the large fire, helped to keep everyone warm!
We were working near the shoreline, coppicing a large block of dense Willow trees. The larger trees were cut down with chainsaws, whilst some smaller trees could be tackled with bowsaws and loppers. A fire was started in a safe position, and a lot of the cut brash was burnt. Larger materials such as logs were stacked in log piles, which make superb habitats for insects and support fungi, moss and lichen growth.
The purpose of coppicing is to open up the area, creating more space around mature trees, and also letting a greater amount of light penetrate to the woodland floor, facilitating the growth of wild flowers in the ground layer. Coppicing creates a varied age and height structure in a woodland, which supports a wide variety of species. For example, the growth of wild flowers attracts bees and other insects, which then provide food for birds etc, and when the coppice stools begin to re-grow, the shorter growth is a great nesting habitat for breeding warblers and other song birds. We aim to coppice a lot of the riparian (waterside) woodland that exists along the shore of Rutland Water on the Lyndon Nature Reserve. Coppicing different sections in alternate years leads to a greater diversity of habitat, and consequently a greater species richness.
There is still a lot of work to do in the section we were working in yesterday, and, as such, we will continue working there next Monday. Look out for photographs of the completed task next week!