The Daily Telegraph

Sutton Hoo hopes Stone Age ‘stools’ will save nightingal­es

- By Catherine Lough

A STONE Age tree-cutting technique is to be introduced at Sutton Hoo to try to save the local nightingal­e population, the National Trust has said.

Traditiona­l coppicing, where trees are felled continuous­ly at their base to create a “stool” for new shoots to develop rapidly, allows for the woodland floor to open up to allow in more light and warmth.

It helps the growth of plants such as brambles and foxgloves, which are preferred by nightingal­es for nest-building as the birds tend to be secretive and shy, and prefer nesting close to the ground.

The practice of coppicing has fallen out of favour with decreased demand for timber, but will be used at the Anglo-saxon excavation site of Sutton Hoo, in Suffolk.

It is hoped that coppicing at the site will improve conditions for the nightingal­e and some of the most endangered songbirds in Britain, such as the nightjar, spotted flycatcher and woodlark.

Jonathan Plews, National Trust Ranger at Sutton Hoo, said: “Coppicing has so many benefits for nature.

“Not only can coppicing help trees to live longer, but it also lets more light and warmth on to the woodland floor. [Having] areas at all stages of tree growth supports a variety of wildlife, including many rare species of birds.”

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