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Friends of Three Cornered Copse, Hove


Woodland : Three Cornered Copse

Three Cornered Copse is a triangle of partly wooded downland that separates the residential streets named for it.

The Three Cornered Copse is a large triangle of public land which runs from Goldstone Crescent, Hove, up between Woodland Drive and Woodland Avenue to the top of the hill where it opens out to edge the top of Dyke Road Avenue, it also has a shorter edge along the top of Snakey Hill.

The copse consists of an area of eleven acres (3.8 hectares), this is mostly mixed woodland but approximately 3 acres is not wooded, this is the mown grass slope in the middle of the copse and the grassland at the top adjoining Snakey Hill and Dyke Road Avenue.

It is the largest woodland in Hove and is well loved by dog walkers, cyclists, ramblers and children. In the winter when it snows it becomes a magnet for children, and adults, on their sledges, snow boarders and even the occasional skier. The copse is also a haven for wildlife, there are a number of badger sets, though most of these are now deserted, many, many rabbits, foxes and smaller mammals such as field mice. It is also home to many birds from the robin, wren, blackbird and sparrow to the less common jay, woodpecker and sparrow hawk.

Originally the copse was part of the land belonging to the Marquis of Abergavenny. It was acquired by Hove Council in 1935 when the council borrowed £1,524 for the purchase of the Three Cornered Copse; £711 was to be spent on fencing and paths etc.. During the 2nd. World War the non-wooded area was turned in to a market garden and used for food production. In 1953, to commemorate the Queen’s Coronation, a grove of silver birches was planted at the bottom of the grassy slope and a commemorative stone laid by Hove Borough Council.

Back in the 40’s and 50’s the copse was regularly used by horse riders making their way from the stables in the Droveway up to Green Ridge and the Downs. In the “hurricane” of 1987 over 120 Beech Trees were blown down and many other trees had to be felled as they had become unsafe. This led to major replanting and between 1988 and 1991 over 5,000 trees were planted. It is now a mixed woodland including ash, beech, elm, sycamore, cherry, spindle berry, yew, and field maple trees and shrubs/bushes of hazel, hawthorn, dogwood and elder.

Path from Three Cornered Copse, photo credit, Paul Gillett

Friends of Three Cornered Copse
The Friends of the Three Cornered Copse came about through the interest and enthusiasm of our current Chair, Ruth. As a dog walker Ruth spent a lot of time in the copse and she simply wanted to make the area a better, more managed and cleaner place. In autumn 2008 Ruth contacted the Parks Department and asked if they could loan her some long handled litter pickers so she could get a small group together to clear some of the litter in the copse.

Shortly afterwards Min Hills, the Park Ranger with responsibility for the Three Cornered Copse, called Ruth, showing a keen interest to support her efforts to improve the area. Min advised that the best way to proceed would be to set up a Friends group which would provide a formal link with the Council and with her as Park Ranger.

An open meeting for all those interested in the Three Cornered Copse was arranged for April 2009, the Friends of the Three Cornered Copse was formally constituted and a Committee was elected The group’s purpose is to promote, enhance and conserve the well being of Three Cornered Copse and membership is open to all that use, or have an interest in, the continued well being of the copse. There is an Annual Membership fee currently £2.00 for individual membership or £3.00 for family membership.

Much of the work of the group is achieved through Workdays which are held every two months.

Picture from our January 2015 workday in the Copse

These Workdays are arranged in conjunction with the Council and at least one Park Ranger is always present. One of the first things the group did was to build steps down from the top path to the middle path, by the upper twitten. We cleared a mass of brambles from the grove of Silver Birches and the Coronation Stone thus opening up this site and making it more of a feature. We cleared one of the coppices and with help from Paul the Park Ranger, learnt about and actually completed some coppicing, and created habitat piles for the wild life.

We have cleared tons of black plastic and tree collars from the new trees which were planted after the 1987 storm. We have planted 400 wild flower plugs in the grass bank near the top of the grassy slope to create a mini wild flower meadow and made an ash and hazel fence to protect this area.

Behind the scenes the committee applied for and were granted £900 funding from the Hedgecock Bequest for replanting some silver birches and renovating the Coronation Stone in the site at the bottom of the grassy slope.

Three Cornered Copse
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The Friends of the Three Cornered Copse came about through the interest and enthusiasm of our current Chair, Ruth


see also:
Friends of Preston Park
Friends of Queen’s Park
Friends of St. Ann’s Well Gardens
Friends of Stoneham Park, Hove