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Bark, especially that of oak, was once a valuable commodity. The concentrated tannins it contained were leached out in water and used to tan hides. The price of oak bark reached a peak during the Napoleonic wars when it had to be home produced, and oak coppices were specifically grown for tanning. However, it was even worth peeling the bark from large timber trees, as here, the process being performed in spring when the rising sap loosens the bark. The use of bark had declined dramatically by the 20th century due to the development of chemical methods of tanning.