Three Cornered Copse

Update July 2017
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Update for 'Hove Park Living' magazine
from the Friends of the Three Cornered Copse
July 2017


Last month, one of the two old ladies in Three Cornered Copse fell to the woodland floor.

copse path The two old ladies in this case refer to the two large, standing, dead tree trunks that framed the middle path through the woods, near the steps to the Woodland Avenue snicket. The trees are significant in size, and the one that fell (although it seems it may have had some help), must have weighed several tons. Luckily, it appears, no-one was around to catch the trunk, and it lies, fallen, amid the vegetation which has already begun to take over.

The wood of a dead tree is a complex chemical structure and is virtually indigestible to animals and even the invertebrates that begin to move into the rotting carcass. The beetles and ants require fungi to break down the complex cellulose before they can start to feast. In our climate a large tree trunk will take many years to disappear, but in the meantime will act as a host to millions of insects, which in turn, will attract the smaller mammals and birds. Being relatively 'unmanaged' there are several large tree carcasses in Three Cornered Copse in various stages of decay, which partly accounts for the diversity of species of insects and birds.

Woodpeckers, regularly seen in the copse, play a role in helping break down dying trees. The holes they dig create a gateway for insects to enter the unprotected tissue. A succession of scavengers feeding on this large organic resource.

A succession of a different kind took place in the Friends of Three Cornered Copse at our AGM recently. Ruth Baxendale, our founder and Chair since 2008 has stepped down and handed over to Kevin Potter, our new Chairman. Ruth has been actively involved in the Friends group, and has achieved much in her tenure of the group. She has led the group in several projects, such as renovating the coronation stone, planting birches, planting snowdrop bulbs in the woodland (replanted from her father's garden), tackling fence encroachment, and picking up enough litter which, alone, would fill around 100 black bin liners. Not to mention the provision of tea, coffee and biscuits at each of our work days through the years. Our thanks to Ruth for her hard work, and we look forward to Kevin's reign. Kevin Potter is a trained scientist and will apply his skills to the copse; we're delighted to welcome him to the role.

Simon Baxendale