Prickly nut wood is an ancient woodland and a site of special scientific interest for its bryophyte community (mosses, lichens and ferns.) Ben has been managing Prickly Nut Wood and two adjacent woodland areas for over 20 years, and looks after nearly 100 acres of woodland. The woodland is primarily coppice woodland of sweet chestnut and some mixed coppice – hazel, ash and field maple with oak standards. There is also a larch plantation which Ben is converting to a continuous cover systemn.
Ben’s work at Prickly Nut Wood is a seasonal cycle beginning with winter when the coppice is cut. Coppice management is our oldest known form of woodland management, by cutting broadleaf trees during their winter dormant phase, the trees do not die but send up vibrant new shoots which grow on to become poles which are harvested for a wide range of products. Each time they are harvested, the trees re-shoot and a sustainable harvest of timber is collected. The coppicing process allows light into the woodland floor which stimulates the growth of flowering plants and in turn the food plants for species of butterfly.
Prickly Nut Wood is home to a large number of butterflies, moths, pipistrelle bats, common lizards, a variety of birds including migratory nightjars.
Prickly Nut Wood is a working coppice woodland where today’s management provides timber for products, whilst ensuring increased bio-diversity for future generations.