Spotlight on . . . . . Hill End Copse

Hill End Copse 1

ln 1998 Mike Bolton, his family (the owners) and Tim Toft set about turning the three acre rough and neglected meadow adjacent to their coach depot into a conservation area for the public.

It lies between two streams both running off Caer Caradoc, and is less than one hundred metres from the village towards the east. Gradually we removed the large area of nettles, docks and thistles (conserving some groups of them) and commenced planting native Engtish trees: at least sixteen different species (Oak, Beech, Horse Chestnut, Birch, Elm, Willow, Poplar, Alder, Wild Cherry, Crab Apple, Hawthorn, Sycamore, Hornbeam, Copper Beech, Sweet Chestnut, Scots Pine, Hazels etc). We also introduced many new species of wild flowers adding to the indigenous species, eg the extensive patch of beautiful Marsh Marigolds in the lower damp area of the field amongst ihe numerous existing Alders.

The Parish Council were supportive at that time providing cash and valuable practical cash help with replacement kiss gates and styles.

By the time of the Millennium (2000) the villagers celebrated the official designating of the area by Mike and his family: it was named Hiil End Copse. This really is a lovely developing natural area where the flora and fauna will continue to evolve; encouraged by more and more careful planting and maintenance. Actually the area seems to have gathered several names: Millennium Field, Hill End Copse, Conservation Area, and The Meadow. I know Mike prefers Hill End Copse, since his aim was to recreate a woodiand that used to exist nearby, where he played as a boy.

Fifteen years on from those first tree plantings, they are now much increased in size and number, and are well established, many specimens being over thiriy feet tall. The finer grasses dominate the coarser types and are a joy to behold. Bluebells, Cowslips, Campion, Primroses, Ox Eye Daisy, Wild Daffodils, Speedwell, Wild Garlic, Spring Beauty, Pink Purslane, Ragged Robin, etc, are now well established.

Seats have been donated and situated strategically for rest and comfort. A local young man, Daniel Sheppard's lovely stone sculpture "Peace" has blended naturally in the environment and become a centre piece, along with a more recent stone monument celebrating the Queen's Golden Jubilee carved by Ben and Tom McMillan. They also inscribed Anthea Toft's superb poem "Jubilee" on it.

Pathways in the area give complete access to all parts of the area, inciuding the lovely hedgerow, thicket, blackberry and sloe areas along the singing stream. This labyrinth of mown pathways also make for easier exploring in detail the wonderful natural life, especially for children. And there is even access for wheelchairs through the "bus-yard" gate.

Hill End Copse map

Most of the maintenance work, hedge-laying and mowing etc is done by Mick and his family, as is the funding for trees and developments. We could do with more voluntary help, especially at main mowing times.

It truly is an area of great beauty and a delight for our local villagers and the many walkers who pass though it.

Tim and Anthea Toft