The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
Newsletter - Winter 2017
Around the ReserveIf you have been to the Reserve recently you will have noticed that our lovely new container has now been fully clad with timber, although the "Planted Biodiverse Roof" will probably not be finished until the spring when it will be able to take and flourish. Having the container here now means that we can now act much quicker on any problems that may arise.
Four of our six ponds are completely dry and have been since early Summer. This obviously has an impact on the wildlife, insects and amphibious life; and to think it was not long ago when the lower end of the Reserve was actually flooding - you could walk round Dragonfly Loop and see the water just lying in the undergrowth.
We have been receiving some very encouraging comments on our recently painted entrance gates, so well done to the Committee members who took on the task of preparing and painting them. This task was facilitated by your membership fees and some very kind donations which paid for all the items to carry out the task.
The membership fees of £3.00 per household (£1.50 concession), have as far as we know, been at those figures since the day the Society came to being. Certainly it has been since the day we took over as the new Committee in 2010, so we think that could be said to be giving good value.
Sometimes we are asked what the membership fee pays for and what it gives in return. Quite simply the memberships and kind voluntary donations go towards purchasing the tools and sundry items to carry out the work that we do, including producing the Newsletters. It also pays for new benches as well as the cost of the hall hire for the Annual General Meeting.
We are always ready to welcome new volunteers to the work parties, which are held on the third Tuesday of each month except December, from 1pm to 3pm. If you fancy giving it a try, if you have the time that is, we meet at the main gate at about 12.50pm, or better still meet us at the container. You will be made very welcome.
Last but not least, it has always been hoped that a local school would use the Reserve for educational outings. We have seen the local Pre-School walking round a number of times in the past, but are unsure as to whether they have used it this year.
On the Work Party - October / November 2017Gravel has been added to the side of the path near Prewers Pond, and the grass on either side of it and around the bench has been cut.
Many more branches have been trimmed around the Reserve, especially some thick branches which were gradually getting lower over some of the paths. Lupin Glade has been cleared of undergrowth as part of a planned five year cycle. A new hand-post has been fitted to the Meadow end of the Boardwalk. A tree that had fallen and became propped against another has been cut down.
Now we have had some rain to soften the ground, work has restarted on our Dead Hedge project and will continue through the Winter.
Leaves have again been swept from the main entrance and the drain cleared. Also litter has been picked up around the Reserve as usual.
The Legend of Robin RedbreastOn that first Christmas, it is said, the night was wrapped in a bitter chill. The small fire in the stable was nearly out, and the Mother Mary worried that her baby would be cold. She turned to the animals about her and asked them for help.
"Could you blow on the embers?" she asked the ox, "so the fire might continue to keep my son warm?". But the ox lay sound asleep on the stable floor and did not hear her. Next, Mary asked the donkey to breathe life back into the fire, but the sleeping donkey did not hear Mary either. Nor did the horse or sheep. She wondered what to do.
Suddenly, Mary heard a fluttering of little wings. Looking up, she saw a plain, brown-coloured little robin fly into the stall. This robin had heard Mary calling to the animals and had come to help her himself.
He went over to the dying fire and flapped his wings hard. His wings were like little bellows, huffing and puffing air onto the embers, until they glowed bright red again. He continued to fan the fire, singing all the while, until the ashes began to kindle. With his beak, the robin picked up some fresh, dry sticks and tossed them into the fire. As he did, a flame suddenly burst forth and burned the little bird's breast a bright red. But the robin simply continued to fan the fire until it crackled brightly and warmed the entire stable.
The Baby Jesus slept happily. Mary thanked and praised the robin for all he had done. She looked tenderly at his red breast, burned by the flame, and said "From now on, let your red breast be a blessed reminder of your noble deed." And to this day, the robin's red breast covers his humble heart.
We wish you all a Very Merry Christmas