We have just put up a new chestnut fence to replace an ugly old pig and barbed wire one. We have also added a gate so people can easily now get into the orchard to look around and have a picnic if they wish.
Chestnut is not a native species to Britain but was introduced by the Romans. It now grows in a number of woodlands, particularly in Kent and Sussex where it is coppiced to produced timber for fencing. By actively managing these woodlands by coppicing it encourages all sorts of wildlife which otherwise would suffer. Coppcing as a traditional management practice has declined enormously over the past century but sweet chestnut coppice is profitable and productive – a nature win win. In Blean Woods in Kent where sweet chestnut is coppice the rare heath fritillary butterfly flourishes. ‘Our’ sweet chestnut came from East Sussex. The National Trust also manages sweet chestnut woods in Kent and Sussex and their products are also used for fencing. Here is a link to a Natural England Report on Sweet chestnut coppice.