Three Cornered Copse

Update April 2022
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Update for 'The Hovarian' magazine
from the Friends of Three Cornered Copse
April 2022

Carnage in the copse

It's been a tough few months for Three Cornered Copse. Firstly, in February, the city was battered with Storm Eunice, which brought down several large trees, blocking paths and bringing down fences. Secondly, in early March, the council's contractors were engaged to cut down around 200 ash trees.

Ash tree surgery in March this year
Ash tree surgery in March this year

The ash surgery has changed the appearance of the copse beyond measure, clearing large areas. The intention was to take down all ash trees that could fall on paths and fences, should they succumb to ash dieback. Most of the trees were healthy, but deemed at risk of injuring the public should they become vulnerable. (Note that 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.)

Ash dieback is having a devastating effect on all our parks and woodlands. It is caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, and has now become widespread across the UK.

It was first identified in the UK in 2012 but it is now thought to have been here much longer. perhaps around 30 years. Experts expect our woodlands to lose 80% of the ash population over time. However, the pre-emptive felling of ash trees is controversial, and not recommended by The Woodland Trust, who advise “Pre-emptive, wide-scale felling of ash could be detrimental to the species' long-term recovery and should be avoided wherever possible.” Some individual trees can co-exist with the fungus for many years, whilst more resistant younger saplings grow alongside. The decision is a trade-off between Health and Safety, and the ecology of the woodland. Unfortunately our council has decided that the former is more important than the latter. The copse is now dominated by huge piles of branches and logs laying across the woodland floor. It will take many months for the greenery to recover once again, and there will be an effect on the start of nesting time for the birds in the copse.

As a footnote to the article in February, the Cityparks team, as they promised, have re-planted the whips in the location where our hedge was mowed, in an area further from the border. away from any errant mowing. Our thanks to the ranger and his team for their work. (Further information on Ash Dieback at managing-ash-dieback-on-woodland-trust-sites.pdf )

Simon Baxendale