THE SEASON OF THE COPSE
One morning, in the recent weeks, a dark black cloud blew over the town, thanks to the cold northern winds of early May, and as I walked down from the top of the copse I took shelter in the woods.
Large raindrops began to hit the ground, and began watering the grass. In the woods however, it remained bone dry, the paths as hard as concrete. The forest canopy has nearly covered the roof of the wood, and even the large raindrops couldn't find their way through. In other words, Three Cornered Copse is starting to look at its finest.
The parsley is head high, the May blossom is in full bloom, and the birds are frantically feeding their broods on seeds and insects. One of our members has spotted a Brimstone butterfly, one of the earliest of the season. Spring is officially here.
The Friends of Three Cornered Copse had our AGM in April, at the pub formerly known as Poets Corner, our usual venue. Attended by the core supporters, and outside the formal re-election of officers and reports, a lively discussion took place, making plans for future workdays and raising issues where we could improve things for our visitors. Neil, our Park Ranger, was there and added some helpful advice. Climate change is affecting our woodlands across the South, trees that need plenty of water, like elms, are struggling, and there is the threat of ash die-back, which will change the look of our local woodlands.
More parochially, a few fires have been lit in the copse. The bye-laws prohibit any fires, because of the potential destruction that can be caused. On Ilkley Moor recently, in West Yorkshire, an extensive brush fire was caused by a careless barbecue that spread to the dry vegetation.
The floor underneath a fire takes several years to recover, it really is a risk, and causes damage.
We have recently been contacted by our local path warden, who has appreciated the hedge whips we have planted over the past two years. He has spotted the eggs of a Brown Hairstreak butterfly on our blackthorn saplings, which is a new recorded habitat for this species. It's gratifying to know that the work of the Friends group brings more diversity to this valuable green lung in our city.
If you need a short break from the daily frenzy of Hove Park Living, take a walk through Three Cornered Copse, and see it at its finest this month. But please, no fires!