Coppice wood management in the eighteenth century: an example from County Wicklow.

  • Melvyn Jones Department of Recreational and Environmental Studies, Sheffield City Polytechnic.
Keywords: Semi-natural woodlands, Watson-Wentworth estate, coppice woods, coppice management, forestry history, timber trade, silviculture, coppicing.


The extent and commercial significance of semi-natural coppice woods in Ireland in the past are far from clear and relatively little detailed analysis of coppice management using primary sources has been undertaken. Employing a collection of documents relating to the Watson-Wentworth estate in Co. Wicklow, coppice wood management in the first half of the eighteenth century is analysed. Evidence is presented which shows that during that period coppice woods covering more than 800 hectares were managed in a fairly sophisticated way, resulting not only in the preservation of important semi-natural woods but also in the production of a wide range of commercial products. The woods made an important contribution to the income of the estate, generated local employment, developed trading links over a surprisingly wide area and provided a renewable supply of raw materials for a number of important manufacturing industries.
How to Cite
Jones, M. (1986) “Coppice wood management in the eighteenth century: an example from County Wicklow.”, Irish Forestry. Available at: (Accessed: 14July2024).