Reshaping Fobney Island

Reshaping Fobney Island

For some years, the BOC has been working with the sponsors, Reading Borough Council, the Environment Agency, Thames Water and the Thames Valley Restoration Trust, to help design a wetland reserve just to the south of Reading centre, between the River Kennet and the Kennet & Avon Canal. This is now coming to fruition with a £500,000 project that started in September.

The project will see the island turned into a rich new wetland and wildflower hay-meadow habitat. The site is expected to attract a vast array of wildlife, including birds, bats, water voles, and otters. These works, together with river restoration on the River Kennet, will make the island a more enjoyable place for people to visit, especially for bird watchers and anglers.

The river restoration works will include restoring 310 metres of the River Kennet and introducing new river gravels to the channel to create ?riffles?. Pools, scrapes and reed-beds are to be created and the scheme will include two bird hides with views across the new wetlands. Information boards at the site entrance points will provide information about the Wetland Park and its wildlife. For a plan of the site please click here (NB: 6MB PDF – fast connection required).

Graham Scholey, Conservation Technical Specialist, said: ?This project will make a real difference to the diversity of wildlife at the site and I?m delighted we were able to start this week. Fobney Island is already very popular with local residents, and we hope the improvements will encourage even more people to enjoy this natural area.

The council will continue to manage and maintain the island after the work and will also be looking to volunteers to help with maintenance. We hope that BOC members will take part in a Friends of Fobney Island volunteer group that will be established with support from the project partners to help maintain the site and provide on-going educational opportunities. More details soon.

Renton Righelato –

1 October 2011