Coppicing plans to boost Suffolk nightingales


Coppicing is to be implemented at a Suffolk woodland in an attempt to boost Common Nightingale numbers.

Sutton Hoo is managed by the National Trust, which plans to reintroduce coppicing to encourage new tree growth and provide "perfect" habitat for nesting nightingales. The coppicing technique, which dates back to the Stone Age, involves the cutting of trees close to the ground on a regular cycle, encouraging fast new growth of shoots.

The National Trust hopes to boost Common Nightingale numbers at Sutton Hoo (Neil Hilton).

It will be the first time the technique has been used at Sutton Hoo since the majority of the original woodland was felled after the Great Storm in 1987. Jonathan Plews, National Trust ranger, said the process would allow more light into the woodland floor, which would boost flowers and bramble, which is the "perfect nesting habitat for nightingales".

He said: "Currently, there are a small number of nightingales on the estate, limited to one area of woodland. Last year we recorded four singing males at Sutton Hoo and the hope is we can attract many more through this form of woodland management technique."

Mr Plews added that it would "take a few years for the bramble to establish", but they hoped to see more nightingales "in approximately four years" alongside other at-risk birds such as Spotted Flycatcher, Woodlark and European Nightjar.

The Trust said the coppicing would be carried out using chainsaws and a mini tractor to limit disturbance to the woodland floor.