What is coppicing and why do we do it?

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23 January 2019


The management of our parks takes place all year round, and the current wintery months are the perfect time for coppicing. We know it may seem odd to many that we would be cutting back the many plants that are spread across Milton Keynes’ green space, but please rest assured; it’s a key part of our land management.

For those new to this subject, we’ve put together a quick guide to coppicing – what it is, and why it’s so important.

  • Coppicing – what is it?

Coppicing is the traditional process of cutting back of certain woody plants to just above ground level. Lots of plants are suitable for coppicing, including laurel, hazel, dogwood, rose and willow. It’s been part of land management for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

  • Why do we need to do it?

Apart from supporting plant health coppicing helps to open up the ground to other plants, including herbaceous grasses, wild flowers etc., which is important for a varied green space.
It is also important to ensure the city’s roads, footpaths and redways are safe for people to use.  Coppicing helps maintains the site lines and lines of vision.

  • How does it affect the plant?

While the plants are in their dormant period (e.g. the plants’ nutrients and sugars are stored safely in the roots) the plants are cut/coppiced down to just above ground level. They then start to regrow when spring arrives. It might seem back to front, but this actually helps the plant and helps prolong the life of individual plants – rejuvenating shrubs which have become too tall/over extended, dense or have lost their colour. It also helps to eliminate pests and diseases, while helping to prolong the life of the plants.

You may well see our landscaping team coppicing in our parks over the next couple of months – if you’ve got any questions, do ask them or get in touch with us through our website, Facebook or Twitter.



  • The Parks Trust hosted over 525 events and activities in their parks in 2019

  • Over 180,000 visitors attended an event or activity in MK Parks in 2019

  • 91% of event attendees said they had a Excellent, Very Good or Good experience at our events in 2018!

Discover our parks

  • Campbell Park

    Facilities:

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    Campbell-Park-drone-view-beacon-pond-mk-rose.jpg

    Located at the heart of Milton Keynes, Campbell Park hosts many of Milton Keynes’ major festivals and events. Its imaginative mix of formal gardens, water features, woodland and open pasture mean it’s an ideal spot to enjoy the changing seasons.

    Refreshments
    There are no refreshment facilities in Campbell Park other than during special events. However, there are a wealth of cafes, bars and restaurants in the nearby city centre, theatre district and Xscape centre.

  • Willen Lake South

    Facilities:

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    Willen Lake is Milton Keynes’ most popular park. Visitors take part in watersports activities, go cycling, enjoy the playground, try the high ropes course or simply picnic along Willen’s shores. It’s a great place to entertain all ages of family and friends, whether it’s a visit to the café or restaurant, a stroll, trying a beginners’ course in sailing or hiring a pedalo or bike.

    Refreshments
    The one4six café and The Lakeside Pub operated by Fayre and Square.

  • Howe Park Wood

    Facilities:

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    Howe Park Wood - park.jpg

    Howe Park is probably the woodland mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086. Parts of it may be rare surviving fragments of the 'wildwood' that covered the whole of lowland Britain after the last Ice Age, 6-11,000 years ago.

    Refreshments
    There is a café at Howe Park Wood serving cakes, drinks and cold foods.

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