Baskets and enclosures to protect Coppiced stools
Coppiced stools now require protection from rabbits and deer whose populations have exploded in recent years. In the past, this would not have been a problem as they would have been a valuable food source, their numbers being kept in check by the local community.
Not protecting the coppiced stools is not an option as we have example of coppiced stools that have suffered severely from rabbits and muntjac deer.
Ideally, and from an aesthetic viewpoint, we would prefer to use brush to protect the stools, however the baskets need to be about 1 meter high, hence the need for a stronger woven structure. These structures although time consuming to construct, do have the advantage of rotting back into the soil. Woven structures are susceptible to vandalism, and hours of hard work can be destroyed in a few mindless minutes .
The galvanised chicken wire and sheep wire baskets, are vandal resistant, can be prefabricated in a workshop and will last for 10-15 years. They are highly effective, and both the wild flowers and hazel stools thrive in them, and they also they protect the flora from walkers who stray off the designated path. When the hazel has regenerated sufficiently, which happens within a year or two, the basket will then be reused in another area of the wood.
We are also experimenting with larger (4m x 4m) enclosures which are cheaper to make.