Three Cornered Copse

Update January 2019
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Update for 'Hove Park Living' magazine
from the Friends of Three Cornered Copse
January 2019


Three Cornered Copse can be a dangerous place to walk. During one of the windy nights last month, a large tree monolith fell to the ground across the main pathway through the woodland, completely blocking the route.

dog studies fallen tree in copse

Luckily no one was around to be hurt, but smaller dead branches are falling to the ground every day. The chance of being killed by a falling tree is very small, about 1 in 20 million, according to the UK Health and Safety Executive. Which is less than being hit by a lightning bolt, or winning the lottery. Around six people in the UK die from falling trees each year; thankfully, no accidents have occurred in our copse. At least, not yet. (Perhaps not quite as dangerous a place after all.)

Some more work for the Park Rangers, and a chainsaw, to clear the path, because leaving it to rot is not an option. It takes a minimum of 50 years for a large tree to decompose completely. Researchers in the United States have devised mathematical models for 36 species of trees, to predict how long they will take to be consumed by the decomposing agents of fungi and invertebrates. Some pines will take over 100 years. In the copse, some of the fallen trees from 1987 are still around, and look like they will be there for some time, slowly sinking into the ground.

While we witness the demise of one tree, the Friends of Three Cornered Copse have been busy planting more trees. On our recent work day we planted another 150 hedge whips of blackthorn, hazel, hawthorn and other native plants along the edge of Dyke Road Avenue to provide habitats for the dormouse and other mammals. We also planted three elm saplings, donated by one of our members, which we added at the edge of the woodland. The trees are donated by The Conservation Volunteers, in partnership with OVO Energy, in their “I Dig Trees” programme. Canes and protective spiral sleeves are provided to keep the rabbits from the young shoots, and give them a good start. A staggering 728,000 trees have been planted by community groups since 2015 all around the country. (See for more details.) It will be interesting to see how the hedges develop over the next few seasons. Thanks to our volunteers who turned out to help.

Simon Baxendale