THE COPSE UNDER THREAT
The cold wet June weather paused for a morning on the 15th and warm sunshine managed to bless our work day in the Three Cornered Copse. We welcomed three new faces who joined our work party that morning; it's so good to have new people joining.
The work list that day was mainly about maintenance and tidying up. We added to, and repaired, the habitat hedge near the edge of the grass. It's a long pile of dead wood and twigs, which provides a habitat for birds and insects. We saw a wren in the hedge recently, and it probably had its nest in there.
The rapid growth season is upon us and this meant that some parts of the bridleway were difficult to pass, so with the help of Neil, our ranger, we cut back the overgrowth that was closing the path in several places. One or two trees had come down too, which needed cutting to allow the headroom for cyclists, and theoretically, horse riders. Although it has probably been a while since any riders used the public bridleway.
The planning proposals for Toads Hole Valley seem to be progressing. One of the proposals features the developers' assumption that the council will allow them to encroach on a three-metre strip of the edge of the copse adjacent to the King George VI Avenue at the northern end. Unfortunately this would threaten the mature hedgerow, which is a habitat for so many birds, insects and small mammals. This also provides a physical barrier of sight and sound from the traffic noise. This is, of course, our council's land, which the developers expect to acquire for no cost. (Ironically the significant cost will not be monetary but environmental.)
The reason for this encroachment is to widen the roadway at the top of the Avenue. It's a shame that the considerations of traffic seem to override the natural life of our hedgerow. We have planted hundreds of trees in that area recently, all native species, which will be lost if this is approved. Comments are still being taken at the planning website, until 2 July, so please hurry if you wish to register an objection.
Our next work session is not until September; hopefully the sunshine will return before then. All newcomers welcome, fine weather (almost usually) guaranteed.