Dec 11 2020

Viewpoints from your doorstep: 7. Horseshoe Lake

Welcome to the forth in a series of pictorial guides showcasing Warden Mike’s top ten favourite viewpoints, all selected from our ‘Greenspace on your doorstep’ directory.

Number 7: Horseshoe Lake on the Surrey / Hampshire border

Horseshoe Lake

This photograph of the lake has a striking picture-postcard quality. True perfection would be the addition of two mute swans to match the two sailing yachts. Click on the image for the full size version.

Photograph of a mute swan.

Speaking of mute swans…

The Silver Swan by Orlando Gibbons

The silver swan, who living had no note,
When death approached, unlocked her silent throat;
Leaning her breast against the reedy shore,
Thus sung her first and last, and sung no more:
“Farewell, all joys; Oh death, come close mine eyes;
More geese than swans now live, more fools than wise.”

Photograph of young oak trees Horseshoe Lake

I like to walk full circle around Horseshoe Lake, admiring the hedgerows and trees, planted in recent decades. My favourites are the young oaks.

Photograph of a mature oak at Bramshot Farm Country Park

There are 700,000 leaves on a mature oak tree.

There are 700,000 leaves on a mature oak tree, but if you’re thinking of challenging that statistic by repeating my experiment of a few years ago, DON’T! I took some stepladders to a mature oak and counted all the leaves one by one. Unfortunately, when I was up to 600,995 I fell off the stepladders, hurt my elbow and lost my place on the twig I’d been working on. In the end, I took my lead from Archimedes by simply taking a sample number of leaves and tabulating my figures on an abacus using Differential Calculus and the Copernican Theory to arrive at the exact figure of 700,000.

If you’re still not satisfied, then why not wait until next Autumn, collect the fallen leaves, tip all 10 wheelbarrow-loads into your kitchen, and count them one by one until Christmas when you can celebrate with a glass of mulled-wine?

I shall conclude with one final mind-numbing oak tree statistic. Did you know that one single mature oak is capable of supporting 300 invertebrates? Compare that to a Scots pine, capable of supporting 90.

For directions, information and more photographs, go to the Horseshoe Lake entry in ‘Greenspace on your doorstep’.

Warden Mike
Picture credits: Mature oak tree © Hart Countryside.

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