Woodland co-ops enable a range of people to manage woodland, with each person bringing their own skills and knowledge. Claire Godden shares her experience at the recent 'Coppice Co-op Conference'.
The last three years has seen the emergence of a new generation of woodland co-ops. Back in January in the steep hills of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, our co-op, Blackbark Woodland Management, hosted the first 'Coppice Co-ops Conference' which brought together Blackbark, Leeds Coppice Co-op, The Coppice Co-op in Cumbria and Rypplewood Coppice Co-op from Bristol. It was a charmed weekend, with a magical collision of ideas, advice, problem sharing, honesty and friendship. There were full daytime programmes of serious discussions, followed by delicious laugher and serious fun into the early hours.
There is something wholesome and nourishing about being involved with a network of like-minded woodland lovers, who driven by stubborn determination, inspiration, heartfelt ethical decisions and environmentalist beliefs, are banding together to revive local coppice industries against the odds of 21st century capitalism’s globalised markets.
There’s no way any of us could do what we’re doing on our own. Both practically and emotionally, the support from our fellow members on a local level, and our fellow co-ops on a national level, enables us to find solutions, overcome problems, share ideas, equipment, workloads and skills.