A Guide To Coppicing


Ray Tabor

The author of Coppicing, Ray Tabor. also wrote our bestselling Encyclopedia of Green Woodworking.  He has been working with coppice for over 30 years. He originally learned his skills from the few woodsmen alive and still working in the 1970s.

A guide to Coppicing is intended for all amateur conservationists and woodland workers who work with coppice. It will be of particular interest to those who are intending to bring neglected coppice back into rotation, maintain existing coppice or create a woodland area for amenity use.

Save £1.50 on the cover price with FREE p and p in the UK

And if you have a few minutes to spare, sit back with a C of T (or a G & T) and watch this nice little video about why coppice woodland is a good thing and how the community can join in and benefit.



Chapter 1 – Safety
Chapter 2 – Tools and devices
Chapter 3 – Planning your work
Chapter 4 – Clearing undergrowth and rides
Chapter 5 – Felling trees
Chapter 6 – Using brash
Chapter 7 – Markets and products
Chapter 8 – Storing wood
Chapter 9 – Transport
Chapter 10 – Care of the wood
Chapter 11 – Deer and woodlands

Additional information

Weight 120 g


  1. Peter Andrews

    This review was posted on the Association of Polelathe Turners and Greenwood Worker

    Cyril Mummery a Kentish woodsman looked after Shadwell Woods in Essex. My wife spoke highly of him and so she might. Her task in those days was to oversee the woodland reserves of Essex Wildlife Trust. Cyril’s wardening of Shadwell was an example to all. In his team of volunteers was a certain Ray Tabor who in the course of time succeeded Cyril as warden of Shadwell. Having myself volunteered at Shadwell under Ray’s command on one occasion I can attest to the comradely nature of his band of helpers.

    So enough of the nostalgia, what of the book?

    This is a slim volume of 48 pages written and illustrated by Ray in clear line drawings. The text is a condensation of learned reason and common sense. In those 48 pages he manages to tell the reader how and why coppicing tasks should be carried out. Always safety first, always how to do it and the reasons why. For anyone starting out either as a volunteer. or for the lucky few, working on your own woodland, this is something you should take with you as an ‘instruction manual’. Practice what Ray shows you and your coppice will live long and prosper.

    Book details;

    ISBN: 987-1899233-21-2
    Dimensions 170 x 230mm
    48 pages plus 4 colour cover
    50 black and white illustrations.

    RRP £6.50 but note that the publisher will offer substantial discounts where multiple copies are bought by green woodworking and coppice groups.

  2. Peter Andrews

    Bodgers Gazette (APT&GW magazine) by Mike Gordon

    Book Review : A Guide to Coppicing by Ray Tabor.

    Reading this book was enjoyable. It brought back happy memories, reflecting on the course I once did at the Green Wood Trust (as it was then) and the many hours spent coppicing since. I have worked at coppicing as a conservation volunteer, charcoal maker, firewood gatherer and harvesting for various green woodworking activities. Mostly it has been fun and enjoyable despite the physical nature of the work – rewarding, seems appropriate.

    Ray Tabor approaches his coppicing guidance very much from a conservationist’s perspective. Before settling in to how it’s done he explains how he became interested and some history, sustainability and biodiversity detail involved with coppicing.

    Sound advice about safety issues, particularly when coppicing with hand tools start the ball rolling. I think a “key points” list would have been very useful for those setting out as beginners. The ever useful billhook is given much highlighting as far as tools are concerned. Adequate basic details are given for axes and the other hand tools involved. I don’t think I’m splitting hairs when he mentions “Don’t walk with the saw running”, I would prefer, ‘Do not walk around with the chain running’ which is clearly not a good idea.

    The process of coppicing is explained simply but well. Stage by stage the process is laid out in what should be easy to follow steps. Explanations are clear and helpful. By following the stages laid out it should be possible to have a good result and have a clear understanding of the process. There are suggestions for those running a working party in true conservation style. My reservations however include a possible lack of explanation when using ropes to help fell larger trees. Hung up trees receive some attention, but I’m not sure that the implications of this tricky and potentially dangerous situation are adequately covered. Perhaps guidance on winching would be useful but the very use of a winch carries it’s own hazards. Tricky area to deal with for sure.

    Once the felling has been completed there is useful guidance on what to do with the materials left. Brash can be an issue and fortunately there are several useful ways to productively use some of this material. Surplus brash disposal is also given a good airing. Products and potential marketing strategies are covered for the materials we would generally consider more valuable than brash, for example bean poles, fencing products and inevitably firewood or perhaps charcoal. This is covered from storage methods through to useful information about the items listed. Conspicuous by its absence though is any mention of greenwood craft products that so many of us now enjoy. Here, I’m thinking of spoon carving in particular and perhaps bowl carving and pole-lathe turning with the larger materials if available. One of my targets are walking stick blanks, but I guess you cannot mention everything in a booklet.

    A brief overview of the care of the woodland covers pests such as grey squirrels, rabbits and deer (which get a lot of attention). Tree diseases are also included. There is some guidance on maintaining stock levels. Climate change is one aspect covered. The importance of woodland biodiversity is explained. Ray Tabor quotes “Traditional woodland management remains the perfect example of people in harmony with nature and also demonstrates sustainability in action” He also lists the elements that form the foundation for this belief.

    There is a glossary to explain some of the terminology, a thought provoking postscript and a further reading list.

    If you intend to start coppicing and have the creditable aim to conserve interesting and biologically diverse woodlands this booklet might be the very guide you need.

    I am a firm believer that there are times when written guidance is not enough on its own. In conjunction with some formal training I do believe this booklet is a useful resource for those undertaking coppicing.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.

You may also like…