At the entrance to Dunster Copse from Roydon Court one can see remnants of a hedge of Field Maples that were once 'laiyered' and with long neglect has grown out. Wherever you walk in the fields you are reminded that all the hedges were laid or layered. Stakes were driven into the ground, growing branches were almost cut through and then bent over almost horizontal and woven together.
Wherever you walk at the edges of fields the hedges were originally made this way and can still be seen, although long neglected.These remnants of ancient hedgerows can be seen in many places but the best example is in Widmore Wood beside the water tower on High Street Green.
Dunster Copse and High Wood (beside Sainsbury's Woodhall Farm) are designated Ancient Woodland, Wild life sites, Grade B Sites of Town Importance.
Howe Grove, all along the side of the Link Road, is described as 'part of an old manorial demesne'. It is the long wooded slope on the right side of the Link Road as you come up and is on the Ancient Woodland Inventory, Grade A Site, Wildlife Site, Local Nature Reserve.
This was once a laid hedgerow, now long neglected
Old, semi-natural woodland, continuous on site since 1600 is described as Ancient Woodland. Although indicator species of bush, tree and flora have great difficulty colonising sites once they have been cleared their presence does not mean that clearance has never taken place, but that any clearance must have been so long ago that its effects are negligible. Other factors should also be taken into account such as the islands factor of small connected woodland, relics of medieval woodland, ancient coppice woods in which the coppice layers have not obviously been planted, ancient woods in inaccessible sites, i.e. cliffs or steep slopes. Ancient woodland does not necessarily retain ancient trees.
Did the clearance of the forest happen in the same way as rain forest clearance is going on today, clearing the forest to grow crops? What do you think?
Coppice or copse comes from an Old French word copiez, and from Latin colpare to cut and means to regularly cut back to encourage growth