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Beech coppard in Epping Forest

A beech coppard that is reputedly 1000 years old is our 'Tree of the Moment'...

16 March 2007

For the latest 'Tree of the Moment' we have chosen to focus on a beech (Fagus sylvatica) coppard in Epping Forest, that is reputedly 1000 years old! This particular tree was cut repeatedly at ground level (coppiced) for centuries on a regular cycle to encourage new growth for use as firewood and charcoal burning. As cattle and deer became more prominent in the Forest the many stems arising from the base of the tree would have been pollarded (or cut) at approximately 6-8ft above ground level to prevent the grazing animals reaching the new growth.

If carried out properly, this form of management actually prolongs the life of the tree by constantly encouraging new growth. Sadly though, pollarded coppice stools (coppards) ceased to be managed for timber decades ago, thus resulting in the magnificent specimens seen in Epping Forest today. Any attempt to re-pollard these ancient trees would cause serious damage and may even kill the tree.

Epping Forest is owned and managed by the City of London who are the Conservators of the Forest. This tree and more like it are found at Jacks Hill, Epping Forest off the B172 west of Theydon Bois.

Image of coppiced beech, Glenn Mulleady