THE WORK CONTINUES
On our most recent workday we were assisted by Neil, the Park Ranger, and we were blessed by some fine weather for an after-summer “clean-up” in Three Cornered Copse.
We were a team of ten volunteers, which means we can make a real difference in some areas of the copse. In this case, we were taking back some of the encroaching nettles and brambles, which each year take over more of the edges of the green lawn which stretches up the slope to the north. We also collected a few bags of litter that had accumulated over the summer months, where the space has been heavily used.
Teenager picnics often seem to leave a small pile of wrappers and paper (always Pringlesl). For some reason, clearing up the litter isn't very fashionable with youngsters, so it is left and blows away into the undergrowth.
The bird life in the copse is astonishing in these months. Food is plentiful with berries and insects in abundance, and the ground is soft and moist, for digging for worms and grubs. At the right time, standing still in the woods, one can hear and see a dozen different bird species in only a few minutes. It's too early for the migrations to begin in these warmer autumn months that we experience these days, but the copse is a great place for bird life to feast for a few weeks before flying south.
Thirty years ago, after the October 1987 storm, the copse was not such a great place, with hundreds of uprooted trees lying side by side like matchsticks. Many of the tree corpses went on to survive, as adventitious rooting began to feed the remaining branches, which have now grown into large trees. You can see several examples of this in the centre of the copse, the thirty-year-old trunk still recognisable.
At a time when our Green Belt areas are under pressure to be used to meet housing targets, our green spaces are more valuable than ever. In the next few years, as the neighbouring Toads Hole Valley is developed, there will be even more users of our local park areas. Councils are building more and more houses in the South East, but very few parks are built alongside them. Planning for Toads Hole will be released next year; let's hope there are some areas left for our wildlife to flourish.