THE CORRIDOR OF COOL
During the early summer heatwave of June and July one of the coolest places to be in Hove was in the depths of Three Cornered Copse, under the shady canopy of the woodland.
This was witnessed by all the dogs and their owners that headed for the shade each day, instead of racing around the scorched parkland in the high temperatures.
A woodland creates its own microclimate, which studies have shown can cause a temperature drop of three degrees centigrade compared to open spaces on a sunny day. In other weathers, a woodland is less windy than outside spaces, is not as cold in winter, and escapes the frosts that sterilise the top few centimetres of soil on the outside. The evolutionary benefits of this to the woodland plants are significant, and as gardeners know, trees when planted together always do better than those left to grow in isolation.
The frequent visitors to the woodland will no doubt have noticed the boxes attached to some of the hazel bushes in the top of the area. These are small nesting tubes which have been distributed to survey the site for the presence of dormice. Dormice are fully protected from killing, capture and disturbance under the 2010 Conservation of Habitats and Species act, and the presence of dormice will affect any planning decisions for nearby developments. In this case we're talking about the development of Toad's Hole Valley, of course, and developers need to demonstrate how they will prevent, or mitigate, any disturbance to the dormouse population. We've been informed by the survey team that they have already found some evidence of dormice, and members of our Friends group will be meeting them to understand the implications of this, as the development looms. This could mean extra funding available from the developers to preserve and enhance the environment to encourage the population - planting and thinning, for example, to provide habitat.
Our work days are being finalised for the late summer and autumn; we will post the dates on our website when they are confirmed (threecorneredcopse.org.uk).
As always, all welcome to help us keep the copse safe for the dormice to prosper, in the cool microclimate on our doorsteps.