As from the pictures you can see the difference from when the branches are coppiced, its important to let light into the new shoots of branches. This particular area is new to me so there was quite a lot of work getting it into shape, and it could be a few years before we have any walking sticks coming from this area. Its very unusual to see some many blackthorn trees in one place, we counted at least 30 good strong blackthorn trees which must have been growing for the last 50 years or more.
The idea of coppicing is to bring a new grow of branches into the tree, this is done by first letting as much light as possible into the new shoots and nothing obstructing the upward grow of the new shoot. You want your blackthorn walking sticks to become as straight as possible, what we have done here is removed the top branches altogether to give as much light in, by cutting the branch or the top branch of the tree new shoots should start to grow from that area, it will take time especially for blackthorn walking sticks. The plus side is that you will have lovely straight walking sticks and a good head to work with, we recommend cutting a large tree with a thick stem as you will be able to get a good size knob handle from it.
In this area of blackthorns we decided to cut the trees as high as possible using a ladder and handsaw, its a waste to cut away to much of the tree. From the pictures you can also see many other trees covering the blackthorns which is ideal but its difficult to cut large trees down as there is the possibility you might land on top of your blackthorn trees.
When coppicing its better not to take to much away if possible, try to leave as many branches as possible as these will become walking sticks one day, also check for any dogs legs or bend branches as this will grow into the walking stick and wont be any good, its better to cut these away a let a new branch grow. Sometimes you will get quite a few branches growing very close to each other but you can only harvest one walking stick, its better to select the best branch and cut the rest, or if possible twist the branches around each other to create a twisted walking stick, this can be done with two or three branches and makes a really beautiful walking stick.
Another way of growing walking sticks is to cut a tree maybe half way through, bend it until it hits the ground you may need to tie it down and the new shoots of branches will grow straight up to the light. This is effective if you have the room to do so. Its important to cut the whole tree, just cut enough at the base so the tree can be bend over. The difference in this method and the other method which you just let the tree grow as normal is that you will have a row of walking sticks ready at the same time, the other method you will only have maybe one walking stick a year from one tree.
Coppicing is not just for blackthorn walking sticks but any type of tree that you want to make a walking stick from, hazel is a very popular wood for walking sticks a grows very fast and straight, again with any tree you need the light and nothing obstructing the tree as the branches will intend to bend and not grow straight.