The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
Hello and welcome to your Autumn Newsletter. I think Autumn is a lovely time of year, all the trees turning such beautiful colours before their leaves die and fall. It's been a good summer and the Reserve has really blossomed but all the wet weather from last year has really left its mark with the steps being in not too good a condition. We had to affect a temporary repair to the Spanish Steps as they had become unsafe to use.
The Annual General Meeting was a little disappointing with few members turning out, I can take some of the blame for advertising it too early in the Spring newsletter, although I did advertise it again in the Summer newsletter in July but unfortunately some of you received it too late so I can only apologise. Future newsletters will be delivered a month earlier so next year you will be informed in June and I will be hoping to meet many more of you and hear your points of view.
We are applying for a couple of grants in the hope of being awarded one or hopefully both as we hope to carry out a number of projects next year, such as resurfacing the walkways and levelling out the areas of walkway that are prone to flooding, refurbishing both sets of steps, and tidying the main entrance We hope to open up Meadow Pond which is dry at the moment and to make it accessible once again. We also wish to install a couple of Interpretation Boards, one to give more information on the Reserve and the other to illustrate the history of the Plotlands properties that used to be on the site.
work partiesOur monthly work parties are still well represented but we can always do with more help. So if you have a couple of hours to spare on the third Tuesday of any month except December, we meet at the main gate at 1pm. We usually finish around 3pm. We have been busy with many repairs, maintenance tasks and improvements, and our recently purchased hand tools have proved very useful. Litter has been picked up from around the site and many items of various sizes removed from several areas including the ponds. Branches and grass have been trimmed alongside walkways and by the benches.
The unusually long wet period over winter raised the pond levels much higher than usual, flooding the dipping platform at Puckles Pond. This made it very slippery so we had to close it until the water level dropped enough for us to lay and secure chicken wire to make it safe to walk on.
In addition to the regular volunteers Ray, Tony, Weed, Tina, both Peter's, Joan, Jean, Jeff and Janet, not forgetting our Ranger Mark, we have welcomed back Jim and have received occasional help from our PCSO's Caroline and Paul. We also welcome Alan, Jane and Siggy, and at the August work party we welcomed Megan with her mum Nicki, and Tom with his mum Vicki. Thank you all for you valued efforts.
As you know the reserve is predominately oak trees so I hope you find this article of some interest.
Facts About Oak Trees
The proverb mighty oaks from little acorns grow is a worthy description for the great and magnificent oak tree. There are many astounding facts about these trees, including that they can live for over 200 years.
* As mentioned before, oak trees can live up to 200 years or more, and mature trees have the capacity of absorbing more than 50 gallons of water in one day.
* Leaf arrangement in some species of oak trees is spiral with lobed margins, whereas in some it is serrated. The tree blossoms in spring, producing cylindrical clusters of flowers known as catkins.
* After about 20 years, these trees start producing acorns. Some trees may take up to 50 years to produce the first lot. Yearly production of acorns for a mature tree may reach around 2,200 acorns per year.
* Out of all the acorns produced, only a few of them are able to germinate and develop into a tree. In fact, only one out of 10,000 acorns gets the appropriate conditions to germinate and grow.
* The 1-6 cm long and 0.8-4 cm wide acorns constitute the diet of squirrels, mice, pigeons, ducks, deer and pigs.
* Acorns, which were once a part of the staple diet of some communities, have eventually been replaced by different grains.
* Transcending times and cultures, the oak has symbolized strength and endurance. For this reason it also stands tall as the national tree of England, Estonia, France, Germany, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Wales and Serbia. The Conservative Party in the United Kingdom have also been using the oak tree as their symbol.
* The nut is also a symbol for the National Trails of England and Wales.
* Boards of oak that are wide and quarter-sawn have fetched a high value from the Middle Ages. These boards are used as interior panelling of important buildings such as the debating chamber of the House of Commons in London. Some of the best furniture is made from this wood. Oak wood is also widely used for the purpose of flooring.
* Many different spirits are aged and matured in oak barrels. Barrels made from European and American oak are used to hold red wines, sherry, brandy, Scotch whisky and Bourbon whisky. Wines stored in oak barrels imbibe different dimensions and are often described as having an oaky vanilla flavour. Some oak barrels are charred before use, which adds to the colour, taste, and aroma of the fluids stored in them. Wines that are stored in French oak barrels achieve a greater refinement, and a higher price! This is not to take away from the American oak, which gives a wine better texture and resistance to ageing.
* The smoke from oak wood chips is used for smoking fish, meat, cheese and other foods. It is also used for tanning leather, as the bark is rich in tannin.
* Some of the best professional drums are made from Japanese oak by manufacturer Yamaha Drums. These drums produce a brighter and louder tone compared to regular drums, owing to the rough, hard surface of the oak.
* The white oak is known for its medicinal properties which reside in its bark. This is why dried bark of this tree is used to prepare several medical formulations.
* For many centuries, abnormal outgrowths of oak tissue, known as 'galls', were used as the primary ingredient in the preparation of manuscript ink.
* Certain types of oak wood were used in Europe to construct navy ships.
* Oak groves were used by the Druids for the purpose of practicing religious rites and worship.
The Major Oak - "Robin Hood's Shelter"
A famous oak tree is the huge Major Oak near the village of Edwinstowe in the heart of Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, England. This ancient tree is between to be 800 to 1,000 years old and has a waistline of 33 feet. What makes this magnificent tree so popular is the belief that it was one of the places that Robin Hood would use to hide from the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Oak trees benefit the human race in multiple ways. Recent studies have also figured the important role these trees play in reducing global warming and improving the environment. Not to forget, the beautiful garden ornamentation these trees provide with their structured branches and widespread crown.
The Committee for the coming year is largely unchanged with just one Committee Member having dropped out.
Chairman & Memberships - Ray Batty
Secretary - Laura Wright
Treasurer - Tony Garner