Woodland Walks

Download the Brandy Hole Copse Tree Trail Leaflet giving a tour of some notable trees found in the Nature Reserve. This leaflet is in Adobe pdf format.

Get Involved

There are lots of ways to get involved in Brandy Hole Copse. The Copse is primarily cared for by volunteers. If you would like to join in on an occasional or regular basis consider joining the Friends of Brandy Hole Copse. The Friends organise groups throughout the year.


There are lots of opportunities to learn in Brandy Hole Copse. Find out who lives in the ponds and discover who once used the caves. Why not download the leaflets, read a newsletter or join the Friends of Brandy Hole Copse.


Find your way around the copse, discover how to get involved, learn about the trees, and know how to enjoy the Copse while protecting the habitat.

Recent Articles:

Get involved and Join the Friends of Brandy Hole Copse

February 1, 2017 Friends No Comments

If you would like to help to fund the voluntary work of the Friends of Brandy Hole Copse to maintain Chichester’s first Local Nature Reserve then please print off a copy of the following membership form. Download a form by clicking here.

This lovely local amenity is maintained and improved by a small group of volunteers who work for the benefit of the whole community of Chichester.

If you have not visited the Copse, why not come and see what a special area it is.

The Copse offers local residents:

  • A place to walk and enjoy peace and quiet
  • A place to study our rich flora and fauna
  • Significant archaeological remains
  • A resource for families, local schools and the community

The FRIENDS OF BRANDY HOLE COPSE desperately needs your support and the backing of the people of Chichester to survive and to ensure that their work to protect and conserve the Copse as a Local Nature Reserve can continue.


  • Become a member of the Group
  • Make a donation to the work of the Group
  • Offer a small amount of your time to help out as:
    • conservation worker
    • helping with raising public awareness of the Copse
    • helping with membership recruitment
    • acting as an occasional warden
    • anything else you feel able to do

For more information, please  find our contact details by clicking on contact us


Recent photos taken in and around the Copse

March 1, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

Photographs taken by Andrew Berriman, Tuesday 21st February 2017

Chichester Natural History Society 2012 Spring Lecture Programme

January 13, 2012 Natural History No Comments

18th January,   Butterflies and Moths of Sussex,   Michael Blencowe

1st February,   Guyana, the Last True Wilderness,   Mike Russell

15th February,   Wildlife and Plants of Chichester Harbour,   Judi Darley

29th February,   Birding in Far Eastern Siberia,   John Hobson

14th March,   Trees,   John Blamire

28th March,   Gales, Greenhouses and Global Warming,   Ian Currie

All lectures are held in Committee Room 3, County Hall, West Street, Chichester. Doors open 7.00pm for 7.15pm start. Members free, visitors £1.00

Further information: 01243 575345

Chichester’s Successes in the South and South East in Bloom Awards

December 13, 2011 2011 Winter No Comments
James Alison and Justin Jones of CDC on behalf of the Management Board receiving the Brandy Hole Copse award from Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins

James Alison and Justin Jones of CDC on behalf of the Management Board receiving the Brandy Hole Copse award from Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins

More than four hundred people attended the South and South East in Bloom Awards at Fontwell Park Racecourse, where both Chichester and Brandy Hole Copse won major awards. Chichester took the Trophy for the Best Large Town in the Region, while Brandy Hole Copse won its fourth Silver Gilt Award in succession in the Country Park Category.

The awards, which are sponsored by Southern Water, attracted a near-record 253 entries. This was the sixth year in succession that Chichester has won a major award, and it was the fifth year for Brandy Hole Copse. Chichester, which won a gold award this year, had regularly won a silver gilt award since 2006, and it won a silver award in the Champion of Champions category in 2009. Brandy Hole Copse won a Silver Award in 2007, followed by Silver Gilt Awards annually between 2008 and 2010.

Brandy Hole Copse, which helped Chichester to win the Best Large Town Award, scored an impressive 81 points out of 100, including a maximum 10 out of 10 for environmental sustainability. Other categories in which the Copse did well included the provision of facilities, countryside maintenance, conservation, and Agenda 21 community involvement. Areas, where the Management Board intends to improve facilities next year, include signage, and the quality of features such as benches and waste bins.

Book Review: From Bullingdon Prison to Brandy Hole Copse

December 13, 2011 2011 Winter No Comments

In January 2009, Patrick Barkham, the Guardian’s Cambridge-educated feature writer, set himself the task of seeing and photographing within the year, every one of the UK’s 59 species of butterflies. Ambitious? Yes. Heroic? Possibly. Nerdy? Maybe. However you judge it, Barkham’s decision resulted in The Butterfly Isles, a rare delight of a book, which has recently been published by Granta Publications.

Queen of Spain Fritillary

Queen of Spain Fritillary

Barkham’s butterfly year began in February, searching for the microscopic eggs of Brown Hairstreaks in the straggly blackthorn trees outside Bullingdon Prison, and it ended in Brandy Hole Copse – of which more, later. The search was led by a burly senior prison officer, who was also a big butterfly enthusiast, and was keen to manage the hedges surrounding the prison in order to help Brown Hairstreaks to live there. During the following nine months, Barkham travelled the length and breadth of the British Isles, and in so doing, he met a range of well-informed, but distinctly specialist, characters. They ranged from Jeremy Thomas, the modest, scholarly Professor of Ecology at Oxford University, who had single-handedly saved four or five British butterflies, including the Large Blue, from certain extinction; through to Maurice Hughes, a powerful-looking Ulsterman who drove Barkham in his souped-up version of a high performance Volvo, from Belfast City Airport to the Craigavon Lakes in Armagh, in order to help him track down Britain’s newest butterfly, a Real’s Wood White.

Barkham is extremely well-informed about the eating and mating habits of each species of butterfly, and about the experiences and recollections by the butterfly collectors of yesteryear. He wears his scholarship lightly, and writes with verve and a beautifully light touch. The book may well become a classic of British nature writing, Barkham was also lucky, as 2009 was a good year for butterflies. For in May of that year, as in 1996 and 2003, Britain was invaded from the Continent by swarms of Painted Ladies. Moreover in June, Butterfly Conservation also discovered a swarm of Heath Fritillaries in a clearing in Blean Woods, just outside Canterbury.

But the peak of Barkham’s year came in October, with the discovery in Brandy Hole Copse, of a Queen of Spain Fritillary. He was alerted to its presence by Neil Hulme, a fit-looking micro-palaeontologist, and the Chairman of the Sussex Branch of Butterfly Conservation, who arranged his work for oil companies around summers seeking butterflies. According to Hulme, the butterfly had probably come from Normandy and followed one of the fingers of Chichester Harbour inland. It was to be Barkham’s sixtieth species, which meant that, by the end of the year, he had seen and photographed one more than he had originally planned.

Barkham’s book ends with some evocative descriptions of the Copse, and with him and Hulme leaning in and admiring the female Queen of Spain ‘as she lay flat out [with] tiny traces of spilt male sperm upon her body’. ‘It was not beyond the bounds of possibility’, Barkham claims, that this single butterfly ‘could be the first generation of a new resident species, the first in a vanguard of Continental butterflies tempted by the warmer currents and milder winters to try their luck across the Channel.’ Let’s hope he is right.

Vincent Porter

Patrick Barkham, The Butterfly Isles. A Summer in Search of Our Emperors and Admirals, Line drawings by Helen Macdonald, Granta Publications. Hardback 2010, paperback 2011.

Pond Dipping at Brandy Hole Pond

December 13, 2011 2011 Winter No Comments
Pond dipping at Brandy Hole Copse

Sarah Hughes (in water) leading the pond dipping from Brandy Hole Pond

On 3 August, Sarah Hughes, Chichester District Council’s Community Wildlife Officer led a pond dipping session at Brandy Hole Pond. Sarah brought with her a number of parents and children from the Graylingwell Estate, and they were joined by parents and children from East Broyle led by Friends of Brandy Hole Copse Membership Secretary Michelle Craddock. In all, some thirty people enjoyed themselves.

The children discovered Freshwater Shrimps, Flatworms, Snails, Leeches, and Water Hoglice. Brandy Hole Pond turned out to have an average biotic index of 3.5 which, for the less scientifically-minded among us, should be compared with a predicted biotic index of 10 for a clean upland stream  We can probably improve the pond’s index with some sympathetic dredging, followed by a top-up of clean water.

We hope to do more pond dipping next spring. If you wish to be involved, please contact Sarah Hughes (shughes@chichester.gov.uk ) or FBHC.

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