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Spring 2007



   Greetings from Chairperson Betty Haynes

Here we are, already in March 2007! Time is flying by and the reserve has changed so much since the summer of 2006.You will remember the photographs in the Echo and Standard Recorder of three of our ponds completely dried out.All six ponds are now full and two are overflowing.It is really amazing!The ducks and the moorhens have returned - it is great to see everything back to normal.

The Work Party is still working hard and we have two new volunteers joining us, Tony and Graham. Thank you to all our work party participants who turn up every month to do all the work that is needed, along with Mark Williams, our ranger. There is still a lot needing to be done but for some jobs we will have to wait until the autumn as all the wildlife are out of hibernation. That leaves us with the major tasks such as repairing the steps and paths, etc. The group have done lots of coppicing during the winter months and cleared much of the litter which is constantly deposited. Clearing is done on an almost daily basis - beer bottles and cans, crisp packets, etc. Dog fouling is always a problem. There are many dog owners who like to use the reserve just to allow their animals to foul the footpaths and then leave without cleaning up after their pets, although bins have been provided. There really should be a fine for such carelessness!

Ending on a bright note, summer is on its way; birds are already building nests, newts have been seen, but I have not found any frog spawn this year. I've not searched thoroughly, just a quick scan.I did spot three little egrets on the farm, also seen by other walkers recently. This is the first time they have been seen near the reserve.

Annual General Meeting:Thursday, 5 July 2007.7.30pm - 9pm. Village Hall.
See you there!


The Society currently has a total of 87 fully paid household memberships - the most we've had in our eight year's history. Of these, 73 of the households are in Noak Bridge and Steeple View, 8 are in Billericay and 6 are from further afield. Surprisingly, we have no members from other areas of Basildon. If you have any enquiries about membership please contact Weed, Membership Secretary at 44 Lower Street, telephone no. 01268-289577 or Janet Bircham, Secretary, at 42 Crouch Street.
(More info on the Society's web page.)

   Internet  -  http://www.nbnrs.org.uk

News items for the reserve, including details of work parties and other events can be found on the Society's web page, which also has previous editions of the Newsletter going back to Autumn 2003. If you have any rare sightings of wildlife to report, or have other comments to make about the Reserve or comments on the activities of the Society, then please post a message in the Nature Reserve Discussions section of our forum, which together with the web site is hosted by Noakbridge.net.

   Work Parties

Please look for our notices on our notice board at the Eastfield Road entrance and in the Chemist's shop window.
Next Work Party  - Wednesday, 18 April 2007, 1pm - 3pm.

   Annual General Meeting

Thursday, 5 July 2007. 7.30pm - 9pm - at the Village Hall. Wine and cheese.


If you have been threatened or frightened by unleashed dogs in the reserve please write down the date, time, details of the occurence and call the dog warden at 01268-294280 or Betty Haynes at 01268-531365.

   Items for the Newsletter

What's happening? Something to say? Call Janet at 01268-52634 if you would like to contribute to the Newsletter.


You may have noticed as you walk around the reserve that we have recently been cutting back some trees, or to give the activity its correct name, coppicing. This has been a traditional woodland management practice since around 5000 BC.The timber produced by this method was used (and still is) for building dwellings, fences, firewood and charcoal.Why then do we still coppice when we mainly use other materials for house building, heating and cooking?Today, coppicing is primarily carried out for conservation purposes and is repeated in planned rotation, usually every seven years, except where trees are grown as a cash crop.Large trees can become top heavy if not coppiced and are therefore vulnerable to wind damage.

An area of the woodland is selected to be coppiced and the trees are cut down almost to ground level. This allows re-growth for a sustainable supply of timber for future generations. The re-growth encouraged by coppicing can produce shoots that grow over 30 centimetres in one week. Although it sounds strange, coppicing actually lengthens the life of the tree. When old wood above ground is removed the roots produce vigorous new shoots and if this process is repeated regularly, the tree can live many times its normal expected life span.On the South Downs there is an ancient coppiced, large-leafed lime tree over 1000 years old. Had it not been coppiced it would have died over six centuries ago.

Coppicing allows light onto the woodland floor, prompting the flowering of many woodland plants.Different stages of coppiced coups produce slightly different ecosystems providing a food chain to support insects, birds and mammals. This may be beneficial to flora but some birds do enjoy dense canopies, especially pheasants and nightingales. (Now, whilst we might spot a pheasant in the reserve will a nightingale be seen or heard?)

Neolithic settlements used coppiced wood for fuel and it is still used today.For most of the last 4000 years charcoal burners have used timber from coppiced woodland. For centuries it was the industrial fuel.In a furnace charcoal can burn at over 1100 degrees C which is sufficient heat to manufacture iron tools. Even today, timber from poplar and willow is used as fuel in wood-burning power stations. The trees are mechanically cut on a three-year rotation as they are a particularly vigorous crop, with modern varieties having an annual growth of around 4 metres.

Coppiced hazel has been used for construction throughout the ages and is still used for thatching spars and fencing in particular, whilst ash is a favourite for tool handles.

On the reserve we are coppicing solely for conservation purposes and we hope to see the fruits of our labour peeping through in due course.

Submitted by Joan Fynn


Saturday, 7 April
BOOKING essential *
Activities, crafts etc

        Easter Egg Hunt
Wat Tyler Park
Take home an egg!
        10am-11.30am or
£2.50 per child
Sunday, 8 April
Find eggs, decorate etc
BOOKING essential *

        Easter Fun
Motorboat Museum
£2.50 per child
Sunday, 22 April
See the bluebells!
BOOKING essential *

        Spring Walk
Norsey Wood
Saturday, 19 May
BOOKING essential*

        Bird Walk
Mill Meadows
No wheelchairs
Sunday, 20 May
Pond-dipping, explore

        Nature Quest
The Wick
Sunday, 10 June
Dogs more than welcome!
Fun dog show, displays

        Paws in the Park
The Wick
Stalls, exhibits
Saturday, 16 June
BOOKING essential *
Spotted Orchid display

        Wildflower Walk
Mill Meadows
Thursday, 28 June
Bouncy Castle, rides
Face painting etc

        Teddy Bear's Picnic
Wat Tyler Park
Under 5's
Free taxi, Pitsea Stn
Sunday, 8 July
Explore with Ranger

        Woodland Minibeasts
Saturday, 28 July
Wildflowers, insects
BOOKING essential *

        Summer Walk
Mill Meadows
No Wheelchairs

SIZZLING SUMMER FUN! - Please bring packed lunches

Tuesday, 7 August
Wednesday, 8 August

        Wat Tyler Park
Wat Tyler Park
BOOKING essential *
Tuesday, 14 August
Wednesday, 15 August

        Norsey Wood
Norsey Wood
BOOKING essential *
Tuesday, 21 August
Wednesday, 22 August

        The Wick
The Wick
BOOOKING essential *

*  BOOKINGS - Telephone  01268 550088

Noak Bridge Nature Reserve
Crickets & Dragonflies - Guided Walk

Sunday, 12th August 2007 - 2pm to 4pm

(a Basildon Council Countryside Services Event)

Help the ranger find & identify those noisy yet often elusive Bush Crickets that can be heard in the undergrowth. Then turn your search to the skies for nature's flying aces, the dragonflies.

accompanied children only  -  dogs welcome on leads




Village Hall
Noak Bridge
7:30pm - 9pm

 Wine and cheese 

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email contact - info@nbnrs.org.uk
last updated - 16 August 2015
URL - http://www.nbnrs.org.uk/news0703/index.html