Elfric Wood Diary

Our first coupe of cleared coppice in Elfric Wood

In 2010 we  became the proud, if slightly anxious, owners of 12.5 acres of mixed deciduous woodland. It is typical for the area, a combination of chestnut coppice under story and oak canopy. Unfortunately it has been badly neglected and we hope to bring it back to its former glory.

I expect our antics in these woods will end up covering many years and all seasons, so I'm keeping an informal diary of sorts here. Some of the posts below are specific to our own woods, but many are activities that you might like to try for yourselves, particularly if you have young kids who are keen on adventure.


Woodland Management

We intend to manage the woods in a way that promotes diversity and vigor, not just in the trees but the whole ecosystem. Currently the woods are very dark, having not been felled in over 30 years. The traditional cycle of coppice management should give a patchwork, rich in variety, as sections of coppice are felled sequentially each year.

Letting in light promotes a burst of growth at the forest floor, encouraging wildflowers, insects and other species. By carefully reinstating the coppice cycle, and thinning some of the densest oaks we hope to restore the woods to their full glory, and hopefully have some interesting experiences along the way.

So far we have coppiced one large coupe and thinned some of the oak trees from the canopy. The regrowth is vigorous and already above 6ft high.

Woodland Activities

As well as the "work" (spending a day playing with a chainsaw isn't really work!) we've camped out over night, had school groups down to cook over camp fires, foraged for fungi and gone tracking deer spore! Just spending time spotting different species of plants, and the changes from season to season can be quite exciting - especially when you see the results of your own management taking off.

I hope you enjoy our rather rough woodland diary and find an opportunity to explore the great outdoors. If you have suggestions of your own please use the form to add them below.

Have you done something great and enjoyable in the woods recently?

We love spending time in our woods, whether for days working or just to have some fun. If you enjoy spending time outdoors then please feel free to suggest an activity for us to try or share your story!

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see our woodland diary and suggestions from other visitors...

How To Get a Felling Licence - Part 1 
Well, this is where things got a bit complex! In the UK it is illegal to fell a tree (other than via some limited exceptions) without a felling licence, …

Woodland Photography 
My regular dog walking area is in an area of woodland owned by the Forestry Commission, which means that it is managed and cropped on a regular basis and …

Heavy Horse Work 
A few years back we visited a local wood which needed thinning out. Instead of getting in the tractors and getting the job done at speed, whilst damaging …

Chicken of the Woods... a tasty find and potential for propagation... 
I made a great find earlier today, although it was admittedly not in our own woodland. While driving to my parents house I spotted, from the car window, …

Mushrooms, mushrooms everywhere!!! 
Well today it seems like everywhere you look there are mushrooms. I'm no expert unfortunately but judging by the quantity and variety we saw in our afternoon …

February In The Woods - 2011 - Part 1 - Pitching The Parachute 
Half term came around and we finally got out to the woods for a decent chunk of time. We spent three nights camping, cooking, walking the woods, sitting …

Woodland Management Plan Disappointment And Progress 
Well, after months of waiting and email exchanges we have finally given up on getting our Woodland Management Plan from the surveyor. It was originally …

An interesting site... 
I just stumbled on an interesting site. Ran Prieur has bought a piece of damaged and neglected land and is using his knowledge of permaculture principals …

New Camera - what would you shoot first? 
I've just got a brand new, uber cool Digital SLR (Canon 500D) with some nice lenses. I'm a bit of a novice to quality photography - my previous experience …

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... 
Autumn is here and we've just had a lovely afternoon in the woods roasting sweet chestnuts. There has been a prolific crop this year and they are just …

Clouded Agaric and Sweet Chestnuts! 
Well, autumn is well and truly upon us - leaves are falling throughout the woods and the canopy is opening up. We spent a lovely few hours down under …

Woodland Management Plan - First Consultation 
We had an initial consultation with a local woodland expert on Monday. This is the first stage of getting a woodland management plan written, getting a …

Spoon making for fun (and profit?) 
We had a bit of a craft session today, carving our own wooden spoons. I had a few lessons in knife work recently when I attended an excellent Ray Mears …

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