An interview with...

Colin Simpson

formerly President of the Coppice Association North West (CANW)


Interviewed by:
Rebecca Oaks

The late Colin Simpson (1931-1997) was President of CANW, and was acknowledged as an elder statesman of the coppice world. He had over 60 years' experience of woodland management in South Lakeland and a wide range of coppice craft skills. His experience stretched back to the early 1940’s when his father took on the tenancy of Barrowfield farm on the Levens Estate. His early interest in wood was stimulated by seeing huge timber trees being extracted off the farm for the war effort. At the age of 12 his father said ‘you seem to be handy messing about with wood, I’m going to buy you some tools and anything around for the farmers to do, you’re the lad to do it’. ‘I used to make sheep troughs and mend calf box doors and troughs and racks and all these gate hurdles and do all that sort of thing’, he recalled. Colin was much concerned about changes in management trends over the years and felt that ‘the traditional method of coppice with standards is almost beyond beat for our broadleaf woodlands.' VIDEO CLIP : This video was shot in July 2001 during an evening meeting of Coppice Association North West members at Colin's workshop. The first sequence shows the making of oak shingles, the second part shows the making of the tines for wooden hay rakes.

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