UKTC Archive

RE: age of (grown-out) oak coppice stool

Subject: RE: age of (grown-out) oak coppice stool
From: Jerry Ross
Date: May 27 2020 19:02:41
Many thanks, Rupert, for that detailed exposition!

From my mobile

On 27 May 2020 19:20:31 "Rupert Baker" <> wrote:

Hi Jerry,
Historical terms for land use - synonymous- more of less - with Olly Rackhams' ancient and planned countryside. Several country is small fields, hacked higgeledly-piggeldy out of the woods/wild/waste/ "valuable natural habitat" over millenia; usually random shapes; small - much hedge-grubbing has increased sizes since WW2; but the ones round the site were averaging 3-4 acres in the 1880s; bigger than in S devon, where they were often only 1-2 acres, and with big banks all around. This is very different to either the saxon open field systems, or land taken from commons and laid out under enclosure acts with straight roads, geometric field boundaries. - Read John Clares' poetry re the evils of enclosure - which didn’t happen much down here; most of the land was already farmed by families in separate holdings even in the middle ages. We are on the Celtic fringes...... Read Rackhams a History of the Countryside; or, if travelling in France (after Covid..) contrast the Bocage of Normandy with the Champagne Country... Devon-Banked hedges can date back well over a millennium, or even 2; so coppice stools on an ancient parish boundary bank may be quite old. Trees on such hedges tended to arise naturally by slow colonisation - such banks were stock-proof of themselves, so didn’t need mass hedgeplanting with elm or thorn or blackthorn as when hedges are planted on the flat; but the timber from them was a valuable resource, and managed as such. The stool may well have been on the hedge to a wood rather than to a field Incidentally, the maiden trees on site, with similar dbhs as the larger stems on the stool, are around a century old, by ring counts on stumps from recent fellings; so I reckon for a coppice stool to get that wide you'd have to go quite a long way further back in time.
Cf the small-leaved lime stool at westonibirt; though that is quite a bit 

-----Original Message-----
From: On Behalf Of Jerry Ross
Sent: 27 May 2020 17:28
To: UK Tree Care <>
Subject: Re: age of (grown-out) oak coppice stool

Hi Rupert.

At a guess, somewhere between 100 and 600 years.
Or possibly more. (Almost certainly not less)

But perhaps you can be more helpful than I'm being by explaining "
'Several' (French Seurall), rather than 'Champion' (Fr Champagne)...."
   ??  Not terms I've come across

On 27/05/2020 16:58, Rupert Baker wrote:
Hi all,

One for the collective mind - whilst doing a tree survey, I have just
come across a very fine old multistemmed oak - 7 stems, 3 smaller -
25-35cm; 4 bigger - 60-66cm; 25m tall. Its base, on an old hedgebank,
covers 5m along the direction of the bank, and 2+m across it. Q. robur not petrea.

I have been wondering how many times its been pollarded in the past -
ie how old it is as an organism. It - and most of the oak around about
- are 'sprouty' rather than clean-stemmed, so would coppice and
pollard well; there is one old pollard on the site, but most of the
trees are younger, either maidens or singled /double coppice stems in what was an old wood.

The hedgebank was on the edge of a small stream (now culverted)
running down to a slightly larger one, according to old maps, with
parcels of woodland, and scrub and coppice, all around. Its on heavy
clay - good oak growing ground - and some of the woodland parcels look
to be ASNW; it is in ancient countryside in Mid-Devon - 'Several'
(French Seurall), rather than 'Champion' (Fr Champagne); on the
boundary between two parishes - one with a village, the other
enucleated; so it might well have been there for some time..

Any thoughts welcomed



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