RE-CLAIMING THE VIEW
Anyone passing through the copse on 23 July would have seen a half dozen or so of us working hard on the top of the green, at our latest work-day.
Supervised by our patient park ranger, Garry, we were attempting to uncover one of the benches that would have had a commanding view of the town, and the seascape beyond. After several years, the only view it has had was a very close thicket of bramble and nettles.
The problem with woodlands is that they keep growing. Not just upwards, but outwards. The spring canopy, striving for the direct sunshine, will lean and grow over the open spaces, creating a dense shadow beneath. Within weeks the shadow will allow persistent weeds, nettles, brambles and thistles to colonise the ground beneath, and take over the open space. This dense growth was impassable, and took several hours of clearing to take back the space and expose the trees on the edge of the wood. It transpired that the sensible clothing to wear was not shorts and t-shirts, but work trousers and long sleeves. Nettle stings are slightly annoying when we pick up one or two. But one or two each minute can be almost painful. Nettles release formic acid, which causes the stinging effect on our skin. Some debate exists as to whether dock leaves can relieve the irritation, but a plentiful supply of dock leaves is very hard to find in the copse, so as a help to those of as suffering on that Saturday, it remained a somewhat academic discussion.
The picture shows the view we have restored. However the bench is somewhat the worse for wear. Years of exposure to the weather has left the timbers rotted and loose. (Take care if you choose to rest on this.)
Incidentally these benches wouldn't be installed in today's parks in our city, since the concrete base, the flagstones, with the wrought iron and bolts, is deemed as distinctly "ungreen". The price to install such a structure is also rather prohibitive. Much more fashionable these days are the "perch" benches. No concrete or metal, just the woodland stumps and planks grown and replaced by the rangers.
This is the time of year we collect our subscriptions for the Friends of Three Cornered Copse. Many thanks to those who have already contributed. Anyone who wishes to pay the £3 per family, or £2 per individual, please contact our membership secretary on email: firstname.lastname@example.org