The Noak Bridge
Nature Reserve Society
Newsletter - Winter 2016
Around the Reserve with the ChairmanHello again. The Reserve has held up nicely through the summer months though the ponds did dry up for a few weeks. Now with a few bouts of rain they are beginning to hold some water once more.
We are at the moment mulling over an idea for a new feature for the Reserve which will benefit much of the wildlife, particularly the insect species, if it comes to fruition. This will mean that we will have to apply for grant funding if we are to carry it through. More on that if we are successful in our plans.
Unfortunately, as many of you will know, for the past year we have been having problems with some loose dogs within the East Meadow area of the Reserve. That's the area with the lovely new boardwalk. The dogs are now getting more ambitious and are venturing out into the village.
Together with the Council we have been trying to resolve the problem of the damaged fence bordering the Reserve and the Goodview Road industrial site, which is where the dogs are coming from. The problem is now in the hands of the Council Legal Department. On the morning of Monday 21st November the Council Parks Department installed a section of new fencing to close off the damaged section but unfortunately by lunchtime the dogs had found another way out.
On the Tuesday, our Ranger Mark accompanied by our Treasurer checked the whole length of the fencing and could find no other way through for the dogs. We now feel that they may be escaping across the field north of the Reserve and then into Eastfield Road. We keep our fingers crossed for a speedy end to the problem.
Work Parties - September to November 2016At each Work Party there has been plenty of trimming of branches of various sizes around the Reserve including along the outside of the fence in Bridge Street by the main gates, as well as litter being picked up from all around the site.
Following the long fairly dry weather the pond levels are the lowest we have seen for about five years, and that enabled the Butler sink that someone had thrown into Puckles Pond to be removed. (The Butler sink was probably a relic from one of the Plotlands homes that were in the Reserve and surrounding area between about 1900 and 1970). Other litter has also been removed from in and around the ponds.
The ditch that takes the overflow from Puckles Pond has been cleared of leaves from the Autumn fall just before the recent rain started to fill the pond.
Gaps that had opened up in some places at the sides of the new path have been filled in with different sized gravel to suit.
It was good to welcome a new volunteer who we hope will become a regular.
CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS and FACTSRoman pagans held a festival called Saturnalia from 17th - 25th December to honour the god Saturn who they believed would bring the sun back after the winter in order for their harvest to grow and bear fruit.
During the 4th century the Roman Catholic Church adopted the festival calling it Christmas.
In AD 350, Pope Julius 1, Bishop of Rome proclaimed 25th December the official celebration date for the birthday of Christ.
On 25th December 1066 William of Normandy was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey.
The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe in England dates from the 16th century, a custom that was very popular at that time. The plant then became a decorative item in the home.
The more modern tradition of fairy lights is said to originate from the 16th century Legend of Martin Luther. He was walking in the snow covered woods and seeing stars through the trees and was struck by the beauty, he took a tree home and put candles on it.
Puritan Oliver Cromwell outlawed Christmas celebration and carols in England from 1649-1660.
Before Queen Victoria's reign started in 1837 nobody in Britain had even heard of Santa Claus.
The custom of sending Christmas cards was started in the UK in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole. He and his artist friend John Horsley designed the first cards and sold them for a shilling each.
The Christmas cracker was designed in the early 1850's by Tom Smith a London confectioner when he started adding a motto to his sugared almond bonbons which he sold wrapped in a twisted paper package. Later a paper hat was added and a banger.
The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers.
Christmas trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.
Christmas pudding was originally a savoury dish with its origins in medieval times.
Goose, swan and even peacock were once a Christmas dinner favourite. Turkey become popular in the 1500's with Henry V111 having it for his Christmas dinner.
The Nature Reserve Society