The Weary Copse
At this time of year, the woodland floor of Three Cornered Copse is looking a little tired. The vegetation has a ragged appearance.
The greens are no longer vibrant, the floor is dry and dusty, and because the high canopy is so dense, a reduced amount of light filters through to a few surviving plants among the tree roots. Leaves are starting to fall and carpet the floor, and here and there a few toadstools appear.
All of the action is in the hedgerows. It's been a good year for berries, the season started on time, and we had a warm spring. The hawthorn bushes are laden with fruit, and the blackberries have been ripe for many weeks. The birds and small mammals are gorging themselves in this natural food bank. For our summer visitor birds the copse is a last chance to fill up before heading out over the channel to their winter homes in the Mediterranean and Africa.
The grey squirrels seem to be more numerous than ever. You'll see one or two every few metres in the woodland, gathering nuts and frantically devouring them. Great entertainment for the dogs who walk there each day.
A fraction of our copse remains under threat from the proposed developments at Toads Hole Valley. Reassuringly there are a growing number of objections appearing on the planning site, which was recently amended with modified plans. Unfortunately they still contain plans to carve a strip of land from the edge of the copse at the corner of Dyke Road Avenue and King George VI Avenue. This is to accommodate an "AREA OF LAND
REQUIRED OUTSIDE OF HIGHWAY CONTROL TO FACILITATE 4.3m PEDESTRIAN/CYCLEWAY TO BE PROVIDED FREE OF CHARGE" [by the council]. In other words, the proposal is to use the Woodland Drive Conservation Area (which includes Three Cornered Copse) to provide a cycle path and pavement. The council will gift the land. The discussions continue, but planning comments are still being added. Details of how to access these are on our Facebook page.
As for the Friends of Three Cornered Copse, we remain dormant as a team, but active as individuals. Many thanks are due to those that regularly collect litter that accumulates each day, (new litter pickers are very welcome!). In the meantime we wait for the council to allow our work days once again, even in small groups.