29 November 2008

Brede High Woods buildings 2

By the public footpath a short distance from the eastern entrance to the old wood yard visitors will notice a small brick built structure with an iron door set into the bank by the orchard.20081104 017

It is a furnace for melting pitch in which to dip the ends of the hop poles, fencing posts and stakes to prevent them from rotting too quickly.

Before this system was introduced, demand for hop poles in particular must have been much greater as they would have rotted more quickly.  This would have meant more coppicing in the woods to the benefit of woodland butterflies and other flora and fauna that respond to more open conditions.

Who would have thought a strange structure like this could have had a significant effect on wildlife conservation?

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