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Awards for the Copse

December 4, 2007 2007 Autumn No Comments

South East in Bloom Award 2007

Jo Brooks and Nigel Brown receiving award from Duncan Goodhew

From the Chairman, Graham Ault

We were delighted to hear this Summer that the Copse has been recognised and commended again in the South East in Bloom Competition this year. We were visited by two sets of judges back in July, one as part of the Chichester entry for towns and cities in the South East and one as part of a special ‘Country Parks’ category.

South East in Bloom Award

The Award

Chichester won a silver award based on a number of parks and open spaces around the City, and Brandy Hole Copse was a significant part of that award. In the Country Parks category we fought off a strong challenge from a nature reserve in the Ouse Valley, Newhaven, to win the silver award.

I can confirm that there is a plaque for each of these awards although the District Council will not trust us to keep the Country Parks plaque (probably very wise!). However we can borrow it for special occasions.

There are times when we wonder if it can be worth all the effort that goes into preparing for this competition, but we have had great support from the District Council, who put together an excellent briefing document for the judges and supervised the whole process. My thanks in particular to Jo Brooks, our Environmental Officer at the Council.

This is all good news as it has been such a disappointing year in the Copse with the poor summer weather, the invasion of the travellers and the ever present threat of housing development.

Although I sometimes get depressed about the activities of some youngsters who vandalise the Copse and show it no respect, I must mention one young lady, Rosie Collins, who has, for the second year running, chosen to do her Duke of Edinburgh Award project in the Reserve.

Having done a wonderful job last year in recording our mature trees, she has this year carried out an excellent survey of butterflies and their nectaring plants (with some excellent guidance from Mike Perry). Thanks Rosie. It makes it all worthwhile!

Housing

December 4, 2007 2007 Autumn No Comments

Work on noticeboards

It may feel as if the housing threat to the fields south of the Reserve has gone away. IT HASN’T. As you may know, the District Council’s Local Development Framework has been thrown out by a government inspector as it did not meet the statutory requirements, something which one of our members had pointed out in one of the consultation letters last Spring. One of the reasons for this was that the plan did not specify the sites for development.

This means only that there will be another LDF produced in the not too distant future which, hopefully, will meet the requirements and will therefore be more site specific. My discussions with the District Council to date indicate that the Western development will almost certainly remain a major option, including the fields south of the Reserve. This has some benefits to us in the context of trying to negotiate the use of the fields as an extension to the reserve as a part of the overall development.

This means that all our members and supporters need to remain very alert to developments and be ready to give further active support through any future consultation period. We remain concerned about the level of expertise in the District Council in the management of this issue. We will contact you again when we need your further contribution. We all need to be active in this campaign. The threat is still very real; it is only the time scale that has changed.

A personal thank you

December 4, 2007 2007 Autumn No Comments

Friends committee celebrating Jim's contribution to the copse over the years

In October, the current Committee members raided their own piggy banks and took Jim Ayling and his wife Irene for a meal at a local Chichester pub. It was our way of personally thanking Jim, and Irene, for all the hard work Jim has put into the Copse over many years.

Jim has been a leading light in our Brandy Hole Copse Group since 1989 when, as Secretary of the Summersdale Residents’ Association, he was invited to a meeting to discuss how things could best be managed following the Great Storm. The Brandy Hole Copse Conservation Group was eventually formed, with Jim as a key member, and over the years Jim has been Chairman, Secretary and latterly Committee member.

Throughout much of this time Jim has organised the weekly work parties and has put countless hours of his own time into both conservation and administration, tirelessly campaigning on behalf of the Copse on many issues. He was also instrumental in our involvement in the South East in Bloom competition and hence the awards reported elsewhere in the Newsletter. Jim decided to step down from the Committee earlier this year but we do hope he will continue to be involved in the Copse as and when he can. It is no exaggeration to say that without Jim’s dedication the Copse would not be the enjoyable oasis it is today.

Thanks Jim!

What have you seen?

December 4, 2007 2007 Autumn No Comments

From Tom Snow, Secretary

We would like to better record the flora and fauna of the Copse and who better to ask than you our loyal friends. Surveys are carried out from time to time but it would be great to record what is seen on a daily basis.

In the summer, I took a late evening walk with my wife and dogs and was delighted to encounter a fox in the Copse and two grey partridge in the larger field. On another occasion it was nice to see a slow worm and I know a number of you have seen deer – unfortunately I haven’t! More recently at the pond we have delighted in the moorhens (who raised at least a couple of broods), many mallards and the often to be seen grey wagtail. But what else have you seen? If you would like to help us get a better idea of what is in the Copse please let us have a record of your sightings (date, time, what you saw and your name). You can either e-mail it to me (tomgsnow@btinternet.com) or post a note through my door (Walnut House, 6A Brandy Hole Lane) or that of our education officer Judi Darley ( 2 Bristol Gardens).

We may even try to put sightings (and representative pictures) on the notice boards from time to time to help and encourage other visitors.

Happy hunting!

Volunteering – the essence of community

December 4, 2007 2007 Autumn No Comments

From the Chairman, Graham Ault

The most fundamental aspect of our group is that we have responsibility for a wonderful local amenity and there is, in my view, an onus on the local community to make sure it remains as such. We can, alternatively look to the District Council to do it all, as long as we are all willing to pay additional council taxes to fund it, but that seems to me to defeat the whole essence of a community. We have never so far measured the extent of public use of the Reserve (because we do not have enough volunteers to do it) but we believe it to be thousands of people who use it on a regular basis – which is great. Those people can come and enjoy the place, exercise their dogs, entertain their children, but they do not contribute anything to protecting, supporting and maintaining the reserve.

If only a small percentage of those people were willing to give up a small amount of their time to help in one way or another, we would be awash with volunteers!! In practice we have a very few active members, all of whom have busy lives including demanding jobs, family commitments, other public roles etc. What they have in common is a deep concern for the Reserve and the willingness to do something practical about it, so that the other 99.9% can enjoy it.

The loss of a few of those active volunteers could see the end of the group and a threat to the Copse. Is that what we want. Are we all happy to leave the work to a few people?

I know you have heard this from me before, but I make no apology for raising it again. There are very few of our members and visitors who could not do something to help, whatever their personal skills and abilities. We can find a role for anyone. Please see the list of possible volunteer activities in this newsletter and think very seriously about giving just a very little of your time so we can all continue to enjoy our Nature Reserve.

Please can you help us build an archive of Old Photos?

December 4, 2007 2007 Autumn No Comments

From Judi Darley

We have been hearing from visitors to the Copse about their memories of the Great Storm in 1987 and also about the enjoyment they have had from visiting the Copse on a regular basis over the years. We also know that many of you have photos that were taken in the Copse, both of friends and family and also of the views. The Friends would like to gather together any old photos of the Copse to begin an online archive on the website www.brandyholecopse.org.uk So, please, if you have any photos to share with us do let us know!

Brandy Hole Pond 2000

If you can send your photos online please can you send them to committee member Judi Darley at judi@conservancy.co.uk. But we also welcome copies of any printed photos that you have and we would be happy to scan them for you. If you have duplicate copies do please send them to Judi Darley at 2 Bristol Gardens, Chichester, PO19 5EA but if you have just one copy please can you send a note to Judi first of all and she will then get in touch to arrange to have them scanned. Please do not send any original photos through the post to avoid the risk of losing them.

BHCCG 1988

We look forward to hearing from you and to enjoy seeing your photos on the website.

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