Three Cornered Copse

Update April 2023
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Update for 'The Hovarian' magazine
from the Friends of Three Cornered Copse
April 2023

Ash Dieback (Part 2)

At the end of February, Three Cornered Copse echoed to the sound of large forestry machines, as the second phase of the council's Ash Dieback Project came visiting.

carpet of autumn leaves

Confined to the north end of the woods, the huge machines brought down hundreds of the remaining ash trees, and chopped them into large woodpiles. Most of these had been planted after the storm of 1987, and some had reached 60ft in height, forming a dense canopy. Why is it that it feels distinctly sad to see large trees chopped down and laid on the ground like huge carcasses?

However, the surgery of the woods has been largely completed and the contractors have moved on to the other parks in our city, to excise the diseased ash trees they have identified there. Some chipping and clearing up still needs to be done, so we anticipate another visit in the coming weeks. The trees have to be felled to prevent the spread of the disease and to avoid accidents in public woodland where there is significant footfall. The dying trees become brittle and shed branches even in a slight wind.

The work has left parts of the northern end of the wood quite bare in places, and the tractor treads of the large equipment have scarred the grass quite badly, as the ground was quite wet when the work was started.

The experts estimate we will lose 90% of our ash trees to this fungus, and given that 20% of the trees in our city are ash, it will be a significant impact on our tree population.

In conjunction with the Park Rangers we held a work day on the last Saturday of February, to assist with the planting of the 6,000 new trees that are scheduled to be installed in Three Cornered Copse. We were reinforced by members of the Cityparks volunteers team (a big “thank you” to them for their work), which saw 1500 tree whips planted that day.

It's a major replanting project. of a very diverse population of tree whips, all native varieties, which will eventually result in a more heterogeneous woodland, capable of supporting many different kinds of insects, for the good of the woodland fauna. After only a few seasons we should be able to see the diversity coming to fruition.

As the Red Hot Chili Peppers said: “Destruction leads to a very rough road but it also breeds creation.” [Californication. 1999]

Simon Baxendale