The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
Around the Reserve with the ChairmanHello once again. Walking the reserve as I do most days it is lovely to see everything coming to life again. The leaves will soon be returning to the trees, the plants and flowers are growing, and it is nice to meet so many people who have not braved the flooded walkways throughout the winter but are now returning to savour the delights of this lovely place.
If you have walked aound here over the last couple of months you will have noticed some works going on. These works which, whilst i am writing this, are due to be completed by the end of March, will mean that most of the walkways are now resurfaced and hopefully flood free for the foreseeable future. Any small areas not done will be resurfaced by the volunteers on the work parties. A new Boardwalk will take you into the East Meadow round to a viewing platform at the now reinstated Meadow Pond, and back through a part of the woodland to the path that leads to Fox Pond. The reason for the boardwalk is that the East Meadow is a wet meadow and therefore should not be disturbed by people walking on it as that would upset the eco-system within the meadow.
You will also notice a very large clearing has appeared on the main field. I am informed by our Ranger that in years gone by the main field area was all grass and the Council have set a project to return the area to grass. Another project for the not too distant future will be to set an overflow to the rear of Puckles Pond to drain the excess water into the stream behind it and hopefully alleviate some of the flooding in the lower loop area.
Our Ranger, Mark, will be leading a bird walk on Sunday 19th April, meeting at the main gate in Eastfield Road at 10am. This is usually well attended and an enjoyable way of spending a couple of hours.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A date for your diary: this year's AGM will be on Thursday 23rd July in the Village Hall starting at 7.30pm, doors open at 7pm. If you would like to stand for one of the positions on the Committee please either bring along someone to nominate you or have a chat with me or one of the Committee Members on the night.
We will have a full work party report in next month's newsletter.
Some of the plants that can be found in the Nature Reserve.Goat's rue
Goat's Rue is the alternative name of French lilac. It was given this name because of the belief that it was introduced into Britain from France as an ornamental flower for gardens and then escaped to flourish in the wild. It is a native of eastern and southern Europe where it is one of the many members of the pea family grown for fodder. Hardier and more capable of fending for itself than most ornamental imports, goat's rue can make an impressive sight with its big, bushy domes covered with lilac or white flowers. It does tend to swamp smaller plants and unfortunately we do seem to have too much of it in the Reserve.
Great Willow Herb
This tall, showy plant displays its rosy flowers in damp or wet places by the edges of rivers, streams or field-side ditches. It is able to spread by means of fleshy stems growing just under the surface of the mud or soil, and forms big, dense stands, which exclude and obliterate other plants. The flowers are usually pollinated by hoverflies or bees. Among the insects that feed on the foliage is the dark brown caterpillar of the elephant hawkmoth. It can be found in the lower leaves by day and feeding on the top of the plant by night.
This grass, recognisable by its long spike-like flower-head, is unique among British grasses in having two different sorts of spikelet. The crested dog's tail is found throughout the British Isles, especially in the older and well-established grasslands and in almost any kind of soil. It is not particularly useful as a fodder grass because it is only leafy at the base. This hardy plant is able to withstand cold and drought and is often included in seed mixtures for pastures and lawns.
Shepherd's purse is a remarkably successful weed growing throughout Europe and much of the rest of the world, even as far north as Greenland. There are few British gardeners who do not have to cope with its persistent invasion of flower beds, paths and drives. Although visited by small insects it is self-pollinated and because of this, distinctive variations tend to establish themselves in particular localities. The alternative name of 'mother's heart' given to the plant in parts of England and Scotland derives from a trick played by children both in Britain and on the Continent. An unwitting child would be asked to pluck a seed-pod and when it broke open he would be accused of breaking his mother's heart.
This article was researched by Tina Steggles
I hope you have enjoyed this edition of your Newsletter.