Sunday, February 10, 2008
I bought Scrag Copse in July 2007 for 2 main reasons:
1) it was a dream of mine for many years to own and manage my own patch of woodland.
2) I could run more and more photographic courses there having complete control and not needing to get permission before I did anything. And, running courses there meant I could finance the project.
A couple of people described me as 'bonkers' for taking it on but generally I was very surprised at the level of support I got for the idea even from some of my more sensible friends. Most people who visit the wood fall in love with it especially if they spend a little time there and see some of the wildlife. They then become totally enthused by the project which I think is great especially as I have a few pond digging weekends in the pipeline!!
Geographically it is in West Sussex sort of half way between Horsham and Crawley and near to the Surrey border. It is just over 10 acres in area and forms the eastern side of Rusper wood. It is a mix of oak, hazel, ash and birch. There is also a fair amount of field maple and I've counted 3 wild service trees; two of them little scraggly ones and one huge one! It has probably been under-managed for the last 50 years or so and would benefit from some thinning and the re-introduction of some coppiced areas. But, it will not suffer from doing nothing at this stage so I just want to progress slowly at the initial stages.
It does have one area on the southern border which is about 1.5 acres of bracken, which grew to about 8 feet high last summer. My goal with this area is to eradicate most of the bracken and try to restore a bit of woodland pasture. An open area like this will only help the overall woodland and also from a business side allows me more scope for running varied photographic courses. In this open area there are some damp/wet patches with a few willow and birch so, with some help from my friends Mark and Sarah we dug a 1m deep exploratory pit to see if it would hold water. At the time of digging the clay seemed dry and not too promising but returning 2 days later, I was amazed to find it half full of water. That was 4 months ago and it has remained virtually full and watertight since then. It looks the ideal place to dig out a large shallow sided pond - perfect for dragonflies and amphibians!
As for this blog, I intend to keep it updated with day to day sightings as well as filtering general information about the wood. Some of the images will be just documentary shots, some will be artistic and I also want to use students images who come on the various courses through the year. Please let me know if you want any information, or whether you want more or less pictures, tips on finding or photographing wildlife etc.