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4:10pm Monday 9th December 2013 in Letters
I WAS somewhat puzzled by the apparently negative attitude of the town council to Dog Hill Wood.
Councillor Eager seems to see the wood as a burden of responsibility with an implication that it needs costly management.
I suspect it does now, if it has been neglected – and it probably has been if it is overrun with sycamore.
But woods are a valuable asset. Traditionally, woods around settlements were coppiced – cut back to promote multi-stemmed growth. These stems were then harvested as a crop which could be used from anything such as making hurdles or chair legs to providing fuel, either as wood or as charcoal. The trees were often hazel and also provided a harvest of nuts.
We can still manage woodland this way and make it economically viable. Maybe we should take a leaf out of Woolhope’s book. They have developed a biomass heating system fueled by wood from their local woods, now sustainably managed. With rising fuel prices, a renewable heat source for Ledbury seems worth investigation.
In addition, coppicing keeps a wood healthy and promotes biodiversity.
Coppicing recreates the effect of glades found in old woods when a tree falls. In doing so it can bring back ancient woodland flowers that haven’t been seen in the wood for years and which in turn benefits the wildlife. Who wouldn’t want to walk through woodland in springtime with a carpet of flowers around them?
So, town council, let’s think more positiviely about our woodlands.
NINA SHIELDS Ledbury
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