Greetings from Chairperson Betty Haynes
We finished 2004 with our annual pre-Christmas Ramble and it was a great success. About 25 people came along including a group from the Brentwood Ramblers on their first visit to the reserve. There was a real Christmas-y feel about the morning as we set off with our ranger, Mark Williams leading, when he should have really been at home in bed, recovering from 'flu. However, we made our way around the reserve and a heron dropped in to see us allowing our visitors to get a quick peek at him. We continued through the reserve, Crouch Street and Lower Street and the back gardens of Kenilworth Place to Coppice Lane and the village hall for our mulled wine and mince pies. The party atmosphere was a great ending to our ramble. We hope to see everyone again on Sunday, 11 December 2005. Don't miss it! We would like to thank Terri Sargent and her committee for the use of the Village Hall twice each year at no cost to the Society. Thank you again, Terri - without your support we would not be able to host our Christmas Ramble or our Annual General Meeting in July.
One of the tasks your committee undertook recently was the removal of unwanted plants from the ponds. That will be an ongoing problem as it is very difficult to rid a pond of the American Pennywort. The group worked in the water on one of the coldest days to clear this very intrusive plant to allow the Environment Agency to come in February to remove all unwanted fish. The water was looking clear again but some idiots have put more fish in again! These ponds are not for fishing; they are there for the wildlife such as newts, dragonflies and damselflies.
We are doing a survey of the wildlife, flowers, birds, etc. seen in the nature reserve this spring. If you would like to take part please contact us at 531365 and we will provide a form. Just a few lines to fill in - easy-peasy!
On Wednesday, 23 March I happened to see a rare and probably unique species in Coppice Lane. I had to look twice just to make sure I had not made a mistake but yes, there he was, a Community Police Officer! But approach with caution, we don't want to frighten him away. If you see him, go and talk to him, he is very friendly. We are very pleased to have him in the village and he also visits the nature reserve. (Written tongue-in-cheek, we really appreciate his presence here, thanks to our Parish Council's efforts).
We now have total of 80 households currently signed up. Subscriptions may be given to Weed at 44 Lower Street or to Janet Bircham at 42 Crouch Street. For information please contact Weed on our website or by telephone at 289577. Weed's membership drive has been very successful and he hopes to target parts of Steeple View next.
Don't forget to look at our web-site. Weed updates the information regularly -
Williams, Ranger - Coppicing at Noak Bridge Nature Reserve
This winter, with assistance of the Noak Bridge Nature Reserve Society's work party members I began coppicing the area of woodland near to Puckles Pond. Although to the casual observer this may seem a little drastic there are however, sound reasons for doing it. Not only is it beneficial for wildlife (which is our main aim), it also helps to keep alive one of the oldest forms of land management in the history of the British Isles. Throughout lowland Britain archaeological evidence shows that this form of woodland management has been in use since 4000 BC, although coppicing is commonly associated with medieval times due to the numerous surviving records from the period.
The word coppice is derived from the French word couper, meaning cut. Today we use the word coupe to define an area of woodland coppiced on a regular basis. Coppicing fell into decline by the turn of the nineteenth century due to its ever-decreasing profitability. Coppicing is undertaken in the winter season and is used to provide a regular supply of timber poles for hedge laying, fencing and a variety of traditional crafts and building projects, with less workable material becoming pulp or firewood.
To coppice involves cutting the tree trunk near to ground level. This encourages several new stems to develop from the cut base, or stool. Small divided sections (coupes) of woodland are usually coppiced in rotation with each rotation being undertaken up to 30 years apart, although a 7-15 year rotation is recommended for wildlife.
Coppicing can have considerable benefits for conservation, the resulting woodland having various stages of growth, encouraging a wide range of wildlife. This begins with an increase of light reaching the ground, stimulating the growth of flowering woodland plants in spring. In the following six to eight years a dense shrub layer forms providing excellent cover and nesting materials for many small birds and mammals.
We meet at the Eastfield Road entrance on the third Wednesday in the month - 1pm - 3pm with Mark Williams. We are cutting back straggling undergrowth to improve access and coppicing some of the trees to improve growth. Please look for our notices in the chemist's shop window.
We have applied for a grant to replace our vandalised notice board with a sturdy, all-metal construction.
There have been several instances of unattended dogs running in the reserve. The ranger and the dog warden are aware of this and if you see these dogs, please call Mark Williams, Ranger at 01268-562921 or Betty Haynes at 01268-531365. We must keep accurate records of these events to present to the owners.
Sponsored Fun Walk - 22 May 2005
John Baron, our local MP is again sponsoring a Fun Walk around Barleylands to raise money for local charities. Further information may be obtained from Mrs. Ann Akinin, 125 Bramble Tye, Noak Bridge. Final details will be available during April.
DAY! Sunday 19 June 2005. 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Phil Eckett will be there again with his Owl Wise exhibit along with all your favourite crafts and information stalls. Pond-dipping, of course and a great raffle. See you there!
GENERAL MEETING. Thursday, 7 July 2005
7:30pm in Noak Bridge Village Hall - Wine and cheese!
for the Newsletter
If you have something you would like to put in this newsletter please call Janet Bircham at 01268-526344.