Produced by Nature Signs Ltd, the tree interpretation board is designed to raise awareness amongst users of the park of the considerable variety of trees in this valuable Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC).
The board is located near the swings in the open area of the park and includes images of eighteen trees and their leaves along with tree names. We hope individuals and groups will enjoy trying to track down all the trees listed. In particular we hope youth groups will be able to make use of the materials for quizzes and games.
The pond interpretation board contains information about the different species that can be found in and around this valuable amenity and about the ecological importance of the pond. The board was funded by grants from the Fleet Lions, Waitrose and a contribution from the Friends of Oakley Park.
Designed to be informative and child friendly, it’s an interesting way to find out about nature. Below is some further information about the species in the pond we could not include on the board due to size restrictions.
Greater Bladderwort. A carnivorous plant which traps tiny aquatic creatures like water fleas in its numerous bladders which are covered in tiny sensitive hairs. It is a perennial aquatic which occasionally produces spikes of golden-yellow flowers above the water. Uncommon and declining in Britain.
Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus-ranae). A free-floating plant which resembles a tiny lily pad. It provides cover for invertebrates in the pond. Thin slightly crumpled white flowers with yellow centres appear in the summer. Classified as Vulnerable in Britain on the Red Data List, a carnivorous plant which traps tiny aquatic creatures like water fleas in its numerous bladders which are covered in tiny sensitive hairs. It is a perennial aquatic which occasionally produces spikes of golden-yellow flowers above the water. Uncommon and declining in Britain.
Reedmace. A perennial plant commonly found in ponds and swampy areas. The chocolate-brown seed heads stay intact through the winter then in the spring distributing their seeds. In the past the seeds were used for stuffing pillows and they provide a useful source of food for birds in late winter.
Great Diving Beetle (Dytiscus marginalis). One of Britain’s largest beetles. They can be spotted in the water pointing the tip of their abdomen out to replenish the air supply which they store under their wings. They are voracious predators hunting other insects, tadpoles and even small fish.
Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea). Dragonflies have four large wings which they hold away from the body when at rest. This large dragonfly flies in summer (July – September), coming to ponds to breed but at other times they can be found in woodland clearings. They are most easily seen on warm, still days when they catch insects in mid-air. The adult dragonfly lives for around six weeks but their larvae spend up to three years living amongst aquatic plants in ponds before emerging at night to transform into the dragonfly.
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella). Damselflies hold their wings along the length of the body when at rest. They can be seen flying between May and August over or beside ponds and amongst long grass nearby. They lie in wait for insects before catching them in mid-air with their legs and then returning to their perch to eat their prey. The larvae live for one year in ponds.
Palmate Newt. Prefers shallow ponds with acidic water. They breed in the pond in the spring but will spend much of the rest of the year away from water in the woodland. They hibernate under logs, stones and other places protected from frost. This is Britain's smallest newt, growing to about 7cm and they can live up to 15 years. They are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.
Common Pipistrelle Bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus). Europe's smallest bat with a wingspan of 18–24cm. and weighing 4–8gm. A single bat can eat up to 3000 insects in one night! Although still common in England, the Common Pipistrelle has undergone a significant decline in population largely due to a loss of winter roosting sites.
Daubenton's Bat (Myotis daubentonii). A medium-sized bat close to ponds and will even take prey directly from the water. They can fly at speeds of up to 25kph. They often use temporary night roosts close to their feeding areas and Friends of Oakley Park have provided bat boxes for this purpose. They hibernate in caves and tunnels. There is a large colony at Greywell Tunnel on the Basingstoke Canal.
Kingfisher. Seen occasionally along the Brookly Stream which runs through Oakley Park woods, this bird is an amber listed species (having undergone significant decline over 25 years). Its main diet is freshwater fish, but it also eats insects. They usually nest in a tunnel up to ninety centimetres long which they dig using their strong beaks and claws.