What’s Happened to the Willow at Love Lane?

Visitors to the Love Lane site may have noticed that the main willow patch has recently had a severe haircut…


It’s a technique sometimes referred to as ‘Copparding’ – a mixture of ‘Coppicing’ (where we’d cut at or near to ground level) and ‘Pollarding’ (where we cut at a height where browsing animals – deer, etc – can’t nibble the new shoots).

While we’ve yet to see any deer at Love Lane (although there are reports of Muntjac as close as Marazion), we thought we’d save ourselves some backache when it comes to harvesting the withies for weaving – with the added advantage of maintaining good sight-lines through the patch.

Check out the withybeds in this film footage from 1949 (Looe):


You can see what we’re aiming for at about the 20 second mark.  The 1878 OS map of our area shows ‘Osier’ (withy) beds right in the middle of the current Rugby pitch (circled red):


That’s probably just a remnant of what was grown in the Larrigan ‘Estuary’ before the river was completely tamed.