THE CURIOUS COPSE
In a large space with several open access points, it's probably not surprising that the occasional curiosity is discovered in Three Cornered Copse.
Over the years we have encountered many strange items, some natural, such as a cluster of large toadstools appearing overnight; some less natural, a large stereo system, for example, or the antique bottles we found on a workday in 2015.
Every now and again a tent is sported in the woodland where a passing visitor has sought refuge. There is even a ladder (expensively) padlocked to a tree at the back of the houses of Woodland Drive, presumably for storage, rather than abandoned.
Followers of Geocaching will know that there are at least three "geocaches" in the copse. (If you are unfamiliar with this pastime visit geocaching.com.)
Occasionally we see woodland shelters erected, particularly in the higher wood at the top. Built from dead alder and hazel branches, they can be quite spectacular. One such structure last summer was remarkable, about 3 metres high, four walls and a roof, enclosing about 8 square metres of space. Clearly we have some talented architects in the neighbourhood.
As the leaves have fallen, the nude woodland looks very different in mid-winter, and the extent of the creeping ivy is evident. Ivy (Hedera) of course, is not a parasite, but has a symbiotic relationship with the tree it climbs. It is uniquely adapted to low-light conditions in a dense wood, and provides nesting and shelter for birds and small mammals. Removing the ivy is often controversial, because of its role in the woodland ecology, but allowed unchecked, it can choke the crown of healthy trees in parks and woodlands. So far, we've not needed to control it, but the density and prevalence in places does raise this question.
The experts in this are our Park Rangers, who are facing major cuts within Brighton and Hove City Council. Having met and worked with several of them, I know how skilled and hard-working they are, and without them our parks and green spaces will deteriorate rapidly. let's hope they can be spared.
In November last year, at the top of the copse a large sycamore fell in the strong westerly winds that blew in from the coast. Nobody heard it fall, so it probably didn't make a sound.
A Happy New Year from The Friends of Three Cornered (Curious) Copse.