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The Birchanger Woods Trust

Hazel grows quickly and individual stools can produce a large number of small diameter stems that can be cut using simple hand tools. The shoots are supple, readily split, and can be easily twisted and woven by hand to make a range of products. During the past few centuries hazel was primarily used for wattles (‘wattle and daub’plaster), sheep hurdles, sheep cages (to hold fodder), barrel hoops (for dry or solid goods), crate rods (for packaging of pottery), garden fencing, pea sticks, bean rods, thatching spars, hedge stakes and ethers, faggots(fuel for kilns and ovens), and fascines (bundles of rods for river control or revetments). A typical crop from 1 acre (0.4 hectare) of good hazel coppice would have yielded around 10 000 rods which was enough to produce about 300 sheep hurdles of 6 ft x 3 ft (1.8 m x 0.9 m) in size, 5000 pea sticks, 250 bean rods, thatching wood, stakes and other material. The initial felling to restore neglected hazel coppice will produce relatively few of such products, but if stools and woodlands are properly managed useful crops can be produced at subsequent harvests.
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