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Copse that! Poole residents turn weeds into wildlife
3:00pm Friday 22nd March 2013 in News
Heather and Brian Camfield by the pond in Aspen copse on the Bourne estate which they, together with other residents, have been clearing and replanting
IT started with a small group of residents deciding to clear up a neglected copse that had become over-run with brambles, gorse and weeds.
More than a year later, they and other volunteers have transformed the Aspen Gardens area of Bourne Valley in Poole into an attractive wildlife haven and brought a community together.
Thirty members of the Aspen Copse Mob, ranging in age from three to 73, celebrated the first anniversary of their ongoing project by planting and mulching more than 400 plants donated by the Woodland Trust to mark the Queen’s jubilee.
Co-founder Heather Camfield was clearing undergrowth with a neighbour to create a fire break behind properties in Aspen Gardens last year when they met Martin Rickman, a resident in his seventies. He had been single-handedly trying to clear an overgrown public footpath and steep wooden steps leading down from Bridport Road.
After meeting in the middle, they and Heather’s husband Brian teamed up and were soon joined by other volunteers from the neighbourhood.
Working in partnership with Poole council, the informal group cleared a space at the bottom of the steps, uncovering a pond that has been cleaned out and replanted and is now attracting herons, ducks, frogs, newts and kingfishers.
The clear-up of the hillside copse has so far filled 27 rubbish bags with cans and bottles and 12 with assorted plastic. Around seven truckloads of green waste and two collections of dumped rubbish have also been removed from the two acre site. “It had been neglected for 10 to 15 years and become a fly-tipper’s Mecca,” said Brian. Heather said: “I’ve worked all my life and this has really helped me make the transition into retirement. I go in there, hear the birds and it’s just so lovely.”
Neighbourhood manager Sylvia Webster acknowledged that the area had not enjoyed a good reputation in the past. “We want to put that to rest and look to the future. These people are very quiet and unassuming but they have worked so hard. The majority of people who live here are like them,” she said.
“To me this is a legacy for future generations. It’s a fantastic place to live. There are so many positive things going on.”