3 years ago

Lloyds Coppice, Ironbridge Gorge - Severn Gorge Countryside Trust

Lloyds Coppice, Ironbridge Gorge - Severn Gorge Countryside Trust


TREES, WOODLANDAND CHANGEAll 40 hectares of these woods are classifiedas ancient semi-natural woodland;ancient because there has beenwoodland cover here since at least 1600,and semi-natural because of the profoundinfluence of human activity.AshThese categories of time and naturalnessare reflected in the composition of trees inthe wood.The most noticeable trees are: ash, a great native coloniser elm – young trees only, the old elmswere killed by disease during the 1970s alder, in the wet lower areasAlder sycamore, introduced from Europeduring the 15th or 16th century andnow ubiquitous hornbeam, probably too far north of itsrange in southeast England to be nativehere but planted because its iron-hardtimber was used in the moving parts ofwooden machinery cherry, with magnificent springblossom and horizontally bandedbark sweet chestnut, introduced fromsouthern Europe in Roman times. Oak, with some fine old coppicedindividuals birch predominate where there areacidic deposits from mine spoil Much less frequent are field maple,small-leaved lime and wild service,indigenous trees more commonlyFieldMapleWildServiceElmSycamoreSmall-LeavedLime

found across the river on Wenlock Edge. Scattered throughout are yews, the dark trees which thrive on ravine sidesand link back through ancient history to the deepest reaches of ourimagination.After several millennia of habitation, changes in land use, plantings of trees withcommercial value, landslides and ecological succession expanded to includespecies introduced over the centuries, this ancient wood may bear littleresemblance to its original composition. However ancient the wood may be inorigin, it is obvious that there are now very few old trees. This has nothing to dowith landslides. It is because Lloyds Coppice has been felled at least twice in recenthistory; once before the First World War and again during the Second World War.These periodic and often violent upheavals are part of the process which has beengoing on for as long as people have dwelt in the Severn Gorge.CHANGING FORTUNESThe origin of the name, The Lloyds, used to describe this area of the riverbank andsubsequently the area of woodland above it, has been lost in history. What is nowLloyds Coppice once lay at the southerly end of the great Wrekin forest which wassubject to forest law in early medieval times.

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