Thursday, 30 October 2014

Visiting Other Woods

Autumn was well advanced high in the Troodos mountain forest near Mount Olympus on a recent visit. The whole area is extremely rich in  flora including the wild service tree, juniper, oriental alder and plane; golden oak and black pine -  many of these over 500 years old, and some up to a 1,000. Plus waterfalls , and streams flickering with young trout. The major threat to these beautiful,  natural woods is fire during the scorching summers. At least we don't have that to contend with at damp Old Copse. Much birdlife too: treecreepers , woodlarks, warblers ,  nightingales  - and  Hoopoes, my favourite.

Strawberry Tree trunks, moss covered rocks. Looks like a Japanese garden.

Oriental Plane, Black Pine

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Trying to decide if this archaeological feature marks an ancient cess-pit cover or a Spring

Today we welcomed Hilary to Old Copse. Under the auspices of the Woodland Trust/Sussex Wildlife Trust  'PAWS' restoration project  she is going  to research Old Copse's history by visiting Horsham Museum and West Sussex records office in Chichester to study old documents and extend our understanding of  the wood's past.

Hilary lives nearby , and in addition to research she has offered to help  with work at the wood , which is fantastic. We are slowly  building up a circle of  enthusiasts  who bring their expertise and energy to the restoration of the wood. Each brings different ideas/ life experience to the task , which can only enrich what we do.....and there is a great deal to do.

 And here is our spanking new entrance, gate, track, and parking area,  in the birch clearing on the east side of the wood. This gives us a safe turn in off the road, a firm surface to drive on, and space for timber extraction vehicles when needed.

Hilary spotted our resident kingfisher zooming along the pond, and last week, a stoat, (or weasel) was seen in one of the scots pine timber stacks. A magnificent  stag with huge antlers was in the birchwood, and a young one just developing its adult spotted coat, leapt past within 10 feet of me when I was outside the cabin. The owls seem to be getting out of bed early - we hear them at about 3.30pm. Perhaps they're practising for when the clocks go back.

Sunday, 5 October 2014


Back in August 2010 (see post 14.8.2010 'Still Working on the Ride) a friend's son,  Milo, 15 years old, came to help us in the wood. He was doing his Duke of Edinburgh's Award at the time and was interested in nature and the environment. He had tried scrub bashing on the Downs as a volunteer but that really wasn't his thing. He enjoyed working at Old Copse, and we were very impressed by his energy and enthusiasm. He went on to do his GCSE's and A Levels and could have gone on to university, but instead he enrolled on a course at Plumpton College for a Diploma in Forestry and Aboriculture, Next year he qualifies . It's nice to think that his experience of working at Old Copse had a role in helping him choose that path.

Yesterday, now aged 19,  he made short work of felling a section of ride-side birch, creating a large scallop to let in light and air. While he cut and stacked the timber neatly , we disposed of the treetops, off  the ride. Another job well done.