The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
Newsletter - Winter 2020
Around the ReserveHello. I hope you are all keeping safe and well through these difficult times.
Thanks to the corona virus restrictions, and being unable to gather in confined areas, i.e. in the Village Hall, we were unable to hold our Annual General Meeting in July as planned.
As for the Reserve, due to social distancing rules we have not been able to gather for our usual monthly Work Parties. Since the March lockdown we have had only one work party, in November. Some work however has been carried out by contractors, more on that later from Tony, our Treasurer/Secretary. Despite all this the Reserve is still looking quite good with some lone light work carried out including litter picking and cutting back overgrown lightweight branches and bramble by hand.
With all the rain the ponds have been filling up again, some quicker than others and much wildlife has been seen - muntjac, roe deer, great crested newts, dragonflies, I could go on - and much more that you probably do not notice on your regular walk. More in the Spring Newsletter. Until then, Season's Greetings and please keep safe.
Ray Batty, Chairman
The history of Christmas trees goes back to the symbolic use of evergreens in ancient Egypt and Rome and continues with the German tradition of candlelit Christmas trees. Just as people today decorate their homes during the festive season with trees, ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows. In many countries it was believed that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.
In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.
Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it, in the 16th century, when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. The Norway spruce is the traditional species used to decorate homes in Britain. The Norway spruce was a native species in the British Isles before the last Ice Age, and was reintroduced here before the 1500s.
In 1846, the popular royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree.
Adapted by Tony Garner from an internet article
On the Work Party with the Treasurer – 2020The usual monthly work parties were disrupted as so many things have been this year. At the start of the year we did the usual tidying up of branches and litter, including a buried mound of rubbish uncovered next to the boardwalk. March was our last work party before lockdown.
Basildon Council were able to continue to work and use some machinery to cut branches well back from the paths to open up the ground below to allow more sunlight to benefit low level grasses and plants. They cut down a lot of bushes that had been surrounding Meadow Pond, and cleared many of the rushes from the water so that it was restored to what it had been about six years ago.
We were able to continue with volunteers for our last planned work party of the year in November, with a major effort to clear years of rubbish from the perimeter near Meadow Pond.
Your Spring Newsletter is due in March 2021
Collection of Subscriptions will resume in July