Working Party January 2012


The Copse was once allotment land and was the first bit to become derelict when allotments fell out of favour. It was created as a nature reserve as part of the town council run scheme to keep derelict allotments away from the hands of the developers and was named after Percy Birtchnell who was a local historian and one-time owner of the shop in the High Street which fell down so spectacularly last year.


The first Working Party of the year on January 8th was in Birtchnell’s Copse.


It is looked after by a voluntary warden Andrew Calderwood and his wife Diana. The costs come out of the town Council’s environment budget not the allotments’ but we of the SAS always dedicate one of our winter working parties to whatever needs doing. This year there were 18 volunteers who did a good day’s work, with a lunch and hot soup provided by a member; with such a big group a lot was achieved. A gap toothed section of hedge was replaced with new hawthorn plants which will be properly trained and cut to make a stout hedge suitable for nesting birds; the inside of another hedge was faced up; the grass area inside the gate where people assemble before exploring was given a clear up and the section of blackthorn coppice coppiced a couple of years ago and now regenerating was rough weeded. There is a path round the inside of the perimeter of the site, much used by dog walkers and the bramble trying to spread across it were cut back and the longer shoots from last year’s growth woven back into the main area to thicken it and ensure a good crop of berries for next winter. Enjoyable, sociable and useful is a good description.

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Sunnyside Allotments Handbook Revised May 2016

Ted Dyer

Click on the image above to read the many tributes to Ted.