Three Cornered Copse

Update May 2016
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Update for 'Hove Park Living' magazine
from the Friends of the Three Cornered Copse
May 2016


Park rangers working with the Friends of Three Cornered Copse

Imagine looking after a garden, of 11 acres, partly wooded, partly lawn, with several public pathways running through it. Different terrain made of mud, chalk, and more mud, bordering on hundreds of fences, the back gardens of Woodland Drive and Woodland Avenue. If you can imagine it, then you will understand the lengthy list of tasks for a typical workday of the Friends of Three Cornered Copse.

This week, 16 April, we were assisted by Park Ranger Will, our guest ranger for the day. Several jobs to do: cutting back trees overhanging the southern entry lane, removing a fallen spindle bush, and an old alder that had fallen at head height across our middle path, laden with ivy, and sinking slowly to block the way. We also removed a metal girder, which has successfully tripped up many walkers through the wood space. Thanks to Matt Duffell for the loan of his sledgehammer.

As the rain started to fall, I started to wonder how long it took for the water absorbed by tree roots to reach the growing leaves at the edge of the tree tops. It's a difficult question, and trees have developed several mechanisms to haul the water in against gravity. A mature oak tree can absorb SO gallons of water in a day, so within a day or two a molecule of water can fall from the sky and reach a tree leaf. Three Cornered Copse, in April, is transformed from a lattice of bare branches to a canopy of pale green, within days. A few hours of rain, with the increasing day length, helps this transformation. The birds are very active now, pairing and nest building. On our work day we spotted blue tits, sparrows, great tits, wrens, finches, magpies, robins and numerous wood pigeons.

Frequent visitors to the copse will have noticed that the chalk bags, delivered in autumn, and rested over the winter on the top lawn, have been put to good use, building a path through the muddiest part of the woods. This was arranged by the council and a team of community payback people who moved several tons of hardcore, and wood chips, covering the areas which had become largely impassable, and raised the level of the path, providing a more permanent way through the higher wooded space. It also removed the eyesore of the chalk bags, source of several comments since their arrival. Enjoy Three Cornered Copse this spring, when it is at its best.