© Edward Mills

Coupes and Cords

Working with woodland managers to restore neglected woodland and create a more sustainable, ecologically and visually diverse landscape.

Coppiced over many centuries, the extensive woodlands of the Rusland Valley and Fells once supported hundreds of jobs and fuelled a large part of the local economy. The coppices are a haven for many threatened plant, butterfly, moth, bird and small mammal species, but much of this woodland is now under-managed and important habitats are being lost.
Through the Coupes and Cords project, we are working with apprentices, woodland owners, volunteers and contractors to carry out a variety of woodland management activities, focusing on coppicing but also including thinning, boundary work, deer management and enrichment planting.

Aims and benefits:

  • The woods will be more resilient to climate change due to an improved age structure and better deer management.
  • Habitats for woodland birds, butterflies and small mammals will be improved by bringing neglected coppice into rotation.
  • A local source of wood fuel and other timber products will be created and landowners supported to access timber markets and Countryside Stewardship schemes.
  • There will be more people with more knowledge and experience in how to manage the woodlands.
  • Revitalised coppice growth will provide opportunities for future coppice workers to produce woodfuel or products for crafts use to help sustain their livelihoods.
New gateway at Light Hall Wood

So far so good...

Update September 2018:...

  • 43 landowners engaged.
  • 206 ha of woodland brought into management.
  • 5.9 ha coppice restored.
  • Four new woodlands planted.
  • 3763 individual trees planted.
  • 534 tonnes of firewood havested
  • 88 metres of dry stone wall built/repaired.
  • 4634m fencing repaired/installed
  • New gateway and repaired wall at Light Hall Wood, Rusland - see article.

Did you know?

  • Only 13% of land is the UK is covered by woodland.
  • Coppicing has been traced back to Neolithic times by archaeologists who have excavated wooden tracks over boggy ground made entirely of coppiced material.


Project Lead

Rusland Horizons Staff Team

The Challenge

The area’s woodlands were intensively worked for many centuries to produce charcoal and many other wood products. When demand for charcoal declined in the twentieth century, most of this working woodland became commercially redundant, leading to a lack of management and neglect. This means that their character is changing, resulting in even-aged stands of trees that will all reach maturity and begin to die at the same time. Habitat structure is also declining, leading to loss of species. If we take action now, some of this decline can be reversed and coppice revived.

Our Approach

By engaging with a wide range of landowners we hope to make long lasting positive change in woodlands across the scheme area. Using apprentices, volunteers, local coppice workers and contractors we hope to restore several woodlands by carrying out essential management tasks. This will help declining woodland flora and increase habitat for a range of rare species once prevalent in the region.

We are supporting woodland owners to produce Woodland Management Plans and, where possible, access Countryside Stewardship grants to sustain the work. Increasing local knowledge of woodland flora, fauna and management techniques through more areas covered by woodland management plans will help to leave a legacy of good practice. Local woodland practitioners can continue this work for years to come.

Can You Help?

We need volunteers

Unless marked as optional, all fields are required

Your Details

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© Rusland Horizons 2017 - 2019. All rights reserved.
Rusland Horizons is a Landscape Partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund