Home » volunteer » 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


Brandy Hole Copse in the Big Society

September 1, 2011 2011 Summer No Comments

The death of Helen Carlton, one of the pioneers of the Brandy Hole Copse Conservation Group which preceded the Friends of Brandy Hole Copse coincides with a turning point in the relations between the State and the natural environment in Great Britain.

The key mantra in the new Age of Austerity – the last one was under the Post-War Labour Government – is that of the Big Society. But as Richard Williamson points out in his review of The Natural Choice, the Coalition Government’s White Paper on the future of the natural environment (see back page), the founders and the volunteers who help to maintain the Copse were in the Big Society years before the White Paper. Gone, it would seem, are the days when both national and local governments were prepared to encourage and subsidise environmental experts in their struggles to stem, perhaps even to roll back, the onward march of urban development.

But the Big Society also needs a new generation of volunteers. It is not just those Friends of the Copse with forestry or hedge-laying skills – although they are still wanted – but in addition we need Friends with the skills necessary to adapt to the challenges posed by the advent of the information society. They could be legal, public relations, or fund-raising skills, or the expertise to assist us in promoting and providing more educational opportunities for schoolchildren, and even adults, to learn about the contribution which the Copse makes to nature’s biodiversity. No skill need be too small or too modest. You could make a valuable contribution, just by taking notes, making telephone calls, or even sending e-mails.

The Copse needs you – and we all need the Copse!

Vincent Porter

A Year at Willow Pond

January 1, 2011 2010 Winter No Comments

John Field, who is also one of the Friends’ volunteers and works in the Copse on most Wednesday afternoons, has regularly been taking photographs of Willow Pond during the past year.

John writes, “Willow Pond is one of my favourite spots in the Copse, so I decided to record the seasonal change of moods from the same spot throughout the year.”

Voluntary Warden Scheme

February 3, 2009 Friends No Comments

The Conservation Group encourages members and other volunteers to act as volunteer wardens. The aim of this scheme is to have a number of people who visit the copse from time to time to keep an eye on things and to report back any issues of interest or concern to the group. They are thee eyes and ears of the Group. These guidelines are to help voluntary wardens to know how the scheme works and what action to take to report issues to the conservation group.

  • Voluntary Wardens agree to visit the copse on a regular basis. The frequency of the visits is a matter for the individual to determine and to notify the Group. Once a week would be very helpful, but if individual wardens want to agree a more or less frequent arrangement, that is still very helpful. Occasional visits are still very important.
  • Wardens should report back to the Secretary or Chairman the following types of issues:
    • damage to trees, fences etc. in the Copse
    • acts of vandalism
    • fires (urgently)
    • unacceptable conduct by members of the public (and dogs)
    • interesting observations of wildlife
    • ideas on maintenance required to the Copse
    • incidents of cycling in the Copse (which is not permitted)
    • issues raised by members of the public visiting the Copse
    • any other information that may be helpful to the Group
  • Leaflets about the Copse are normally available from the leaflet boxes within the Copse. However, Wardens may wish to carry a supply of these to give out to interested visitor. These are available from the Secretary.
  • Carrying a mobile phone in case of emergencies is useful, if you have one.
  • Wardens should deal with the public in a courteous and friendly manner. You must avoid getting into confrontational situations with visitors. It is appropriate to ask politely what someone is doing if, for example, their activities seem suspicious. Most people will react reasonably to this. However, if confrontational situations develop, you must withdraw and report the issue to the group or, in extreme cases, the police.
  • People do, unfortunately, light fires in the Copse. Do not attempt to put these out on your own. If they are minor they will probably extinguish themselves in time. However, if in doubt contact the Group or in more serious cases, phone the fire brigade.
  • We suggest you read the booklet on the history and natural history of the Copse (available from the Secretary) to ensure you can answer routine questions from the public. However, if you can’t answer specific questions, do not worry. Refer them back to us and we will make sure that the person asking the question is provided with an answer. You can’t be an expert on everything (and many of us are not experts on anything!).
  • Enjoy your time as a warden in the Copse. Much of this work will be enjoyable, relaxing and pleasant. It is important that people realise that we do have a regular presence in the Copse and that the area is being conserved and protected.

For more information, please contact us

How can you help the Friends to preserve the Copse?

August 3, 2008 2008 Summer 3 Comments
  • Help to publicise the Friends and their work in the local community
  • Help to generate wider membership of the Friends
  • Help with survey work in the Copse – trees, birds, butterflies, insects, flowers etc.
  • Carry out a visitor survey in the Copse
  • Assist with campaigns against housing
  • Assist with guided walks
  • Help run events for children and families
  • Help with practical conservation activities – including physically ‘easy’ tasks
  • Assist with surveys of safety of the Copse
  • Act as a volunteer warden on an occasional basis
  • Anything else you feel you can do – challenge us to find you a role!

Even if you have only half an hour a month, you can do something valuable to help. Contact the Chairman or the Secretary with your interests and ideas.

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!

Search This Site: