Sunrise: 08.11 Sunset: 03.54
Coppicing and pollarding offer excellent low impact exercise opportunities for most age groups, particularly those who believe they are past it. Woodland activities work the body’s main muscle groups, without over stressing them or the heart – providing you take it easy at the beginning. All exercise should be eased into. I’m in my sixties and able to climb and work up trees, using a bow saw and long-handled lopper, without aching next day. I think my joint flexibility is much improved by practising these ancient woodland crafts. I’m not the only one either; older volunteers perform just as well, and some better.
Coppicing requires a person to get close to the ground and carry out horizontal bow sawing of 50 to 100 mm diameter birch, alder and willow poles. Cut poles and saplings are moved to brash piles or thrown on a brash bonfire. So, a person has to bend the back and legs, use the arms, grip, pull, push, lift, haul, and walk; all good healthy low impact exercises that can work wonders for a person’s general well-being.
Early next year I will start a monthly weekday work party. If you would like to improve your quality of life by acquiring increased strength, flexibility, and mobility, signing up might be just the thing for you.
Some people might feel that this ‘exercise thing’ is well beyond them, but most people will benefit from woodland work activities. If you have a health problem, speak to your doctor. I will start you off on less strenuous tasks, and I won’t ask you to climb trees.
Why not give the marsh a try? Make volunteering at Wilden Marsh one of your New Year’s resolutions! Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org If you prefer, contact Kat Willcocks on 01905 754919 or email: email@example.com
I will supply the necessary tools, you supply waterproof clothes, wellies, a snack and a drink. The work party will start at 10 am and finish at 3 pm.
Readers who are not local, but would like to join a natural open-air gym, contact your nearest Wildlife Trust.