Fobney Lock and Island ? a nature reserve in the making?
This area is an interesting place to explore for birds. We have recently renewed discussions Brian Uttley started
some years ago with the Reading Borough Council about the potential of the
area for a wetland nature reserve. Signs are positive.
While the development of a reserve will be a long term project the
ROC is keen that as many people as possible to visit the
area and record birds seen there. These will help in designating the site as a reserve and in gaining support
Our main area of interest is Fobney island itself which lies between the Kennet and Avon Canal and the river
Kennet. The island floods in the winter and creates a rich habitat for many birds. Across the canal to the north
are Fobney and Coley meadows where the fields flood every winter to provide a superb habitat for wetland birds. A
walk across the designated, signed paths in this area will show you reedbeds, meadows and hedgerow habitat
surprising to find so close to the town centre.
We are looking at the possibility of some limited habitat management on the island in the short term, including
mowing and baling and harrowing to create exposed mud. If you feel you would like to be involved in this new
initiative at this early stage, or would like to contribute financially to the
ROC Conservation fund towards the costs of the work, please email
Renton who is currently managing this project for us. In particular, if
you know a farmer or contractor who could help us do this work, preferably, on a non commercial basis, we would
greatly value this help.
The best way to approach Fobney Island area is to follow the signs to the local Civic Amenity Site (refuse tip) on
the A33 and once in Island Road, turn right immediately before you enter the refuse amenity. At the end of this
lane, past Manor Farm Cottages, you will find a rough piece of ground where you can park (SU705709) and follow
footpaths to the lock, onto the canal bank and around the whole area.
All records are valuable, they do not have to be rarities and we would like some for the summer as well as for the
winter so any time is a good time to visit.
Colin Wilson –