Coppice by-product may have a use




A chance conversation at the Holker Garden Festivalmay have led to a use for previously discarded brash, a by-product of coppicing South Lakeland’s extensive woodlands.

faggots or fascines can be inserted into the banks of the river with sharpened wooden stakes.  Pic SCRT

faggots or fascines can be inserted into the banks of the river with sharpened wooden stakes. Pic SCRT

When South Cumbria Rivers Trust Manager, Pete Evoy met coppicer Sam Ansell he knew that many of the area’s rivers and streams would benefit from the addition of woody debris that would provide shelter for the insects that provide a vital part of the river food chain as well as protecting fish fry from predation.

Sam was keen to cooperate and quickly produced a trial batch of small diameter wooden brash bound together with degradable sisal.

These bundles, termed faggots or fascines, can be inserted into the banks of the river with sharpened wooden stakes.

The initial batch was employed on the River Bela leased by Milnthorpe Anglers from Dallam Estate; here the fascines were used to reinforce a bank section that had become eroded due to the loss of an oak tree.

Although the work party went well the real test will arrive with the winter floods. Hopefully, the fascines will remain in place trapping the river sediment and providing much-needed shelter for the river’s smaller inhabitants.

If all goes well fascines may become a common means of assisting river improvements.

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