Fobney Island

For some years, the Berkshire Ornithological Club has been working with Reading Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, the Thames Valley Restoration Trust and Reading & District Angling Association to help design a wetland reserve just to the south of Reading centre, between the River Kennet and the Kennet & Avon Canal.

This came to fruition with a £500,000 project that started in September 2011. The river restoration works included restoring 300-400 metres of the River Kennet and introducing new river gravels to the channel to create ‘riffles’. The level of the island has been lowered to allow more flooding and the creation of pools, scrapes and reed-beds. The scheme includes two bird screens with views across the new wetlands. Information boards at the site entrance points provide information about the wetland and its wildlife. In 2012, the scrapes attracted a pair of Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing bred and a pair of Gadwall nested. A Barn Owl shared a box on the south side of the river with Mandarins and Kingfisher favour the “riffled” stretch of the river. The island has developed an increasing list of bird species, now over 100, and has been notable for visiting Garganey in the Spring.
Fobney Island can be accessed via Fobney Lock, where there is a small car parking area at the end of Island Road (SU705709).

Reading Borough Council manage the island with the help of the “Friends of Fobney Island” volunteer group with support from the project partners to help maintain the site and provide on-going educational opportunities. To become a Friend of Fobney Island contact Glenn Jones at Reading Borough Council glenn.jones@reading.gov.uk. For the latest news, check the Friends of Fobney facebook page.

Wildlife monitoring: a summary of surveys of plants, birds, butterflies, dragonflies & damselflies can be downloaded (see right column). We would welcome data for other taxa: please contact renton.righelato@berksoc.org.uk

A plant survey in 2014/5 recorded nearly 200 species on the Island; over 100 species of birds are recorded each year; 15 species of Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) have been recorded and five species of bats.