WELCOME TO OLD SNEED PARK NATURE RESERVE (Notes prepared for the autumn guided walk on the 2nd October 2010)
Look out for berries and fruits as you come down the path into the reserve. The hedge on your left at No.1 on the map below has bright pink Spindle berries, deep red Rosehips and the haws of the Hawthorn. There are also dark blue sloe berries of the Blackthorn and crimson berries of the Wayfarer tree. You may also see various fungi as you go around the Reserve; these are the fruiting bodies of microscopic organisms in soil or rotting wood, such as bracket fungus. This is just one species that likes dead trees which are valuable for all sorts of insects and wild life.
If you continue along the path at No.2, it will take you through the wood where you will see many different types of trees, including varieties of oak, chestnut, ash, beech, yew, spindle and a Norway spruce down by the gate leading into the meadows. There is bamboo growing in the wood too and bluebells and wild garlic in the Spring. The path is quite rough and may be muddy.
A new path has been made from No.3, leading to the entrance into the Woodland Trust area to the left. This has been introduced to try and protect and help to increase the many wild flowers in the hay meadows. At the far end of the meadows at No.4, there are some anthills, thought to have been there for over 100 years. Near to No.5, a beehive has been installed from which honey has already been collected. Take care not to disturb the bees if you approach it.
Much work has been done on the lake, which is now home to moorhens and mallard ducks. Please don’t feed the ducks as they have plenty of suitable vegetation to eat and bread is not good for them. You may also be lucky enough to see kingfishers, sparrowhawks, kestrels or buzzards.
There is a dipping platform at No.6, where children can dip in buckets or nets to see what they can find in the water. A little further along at No.7, some Victorian steps were discovered during the conservation work and nearby in the water you will see two gabions which are designed to delay the building up of silt.
We hope you will enjoy the Nature Reserve as much as we do and return to enjoy the changes apparent at different times of the year. We also have Working Parties to help with a variety of jobs to which you are warmly invited. They are good fun and coffee and biscuits are provided. Dates for the diary are all Saturday mornings, 16th October, 6th November and 4th December from 10am to 12 noon. Please bring strong gloves and secateurs if you have them.
Visit our website at www.spnaturereserve.com
As the path widens out at No.2, look at the crack in the wall on the right, just behind the wooden bench and you will see lots of cherry stones from the trees to your left. Look closely and you will notice that there is a bit out of each one where the woodmice who live in the crack have taken out the kernel to eat.
Map by Robert Huddleston; text by Lynda Bryan-Brown