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Berkshire nature reserves ‘trashed’ after lockdown easing

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More than 10 nature reserves in Berkshire have been trashed as anti-social behaviour hit “unprecedented” levels following the easing of lockdown in Berkshire alone, a wildlife trust has said.

Fly-tipping, littering and barbecue fires have increased, Berkshire (BBOWT) said. At Hosehill Lake (1 mile south Theale), boating and swimming has disturbed nesting birds including terns, lapwing, oyster catchers. People fishing in front of a specially created sand martin wall has thought to have caused a failure of nests there this year.

Fences and buildings have also been damaged. On Wildmoor (Crowthorne), people have cut fencing to reach restricted and protected areas of the reserve and at Moor Copse wildflowers and nesting areas for skylark have been damaged. People have broken into an old building at Greenham causing substantial damage to its structure and roof.

A trust director said it was the worst he had seen in 30 years.

Warm weather in recent weeks is also believed to have been a factor.

BBOWT director Christopher Williams said: “I’ve been shocked, saddened and angered by the frankly disgraceful behaviour and actions by some people which we have witnessed at our nature reserves in the last few weeks.

“I’ve worked in the sector for nearly 30 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Similar issues have hapenned in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, across 25 BBOWT nature reserves, volunteers have seen fly-tipping, littering, and trampled paths through reed beds, as well as fences cut and an old building damaged by a break-in.

BBOWT is asking anyone who witnesses any anti-social and criminal activity at any of our nature reserves, to contact the Police on 101. Details of how to report these incidents is explained on our website. We also ask people to spread the word that this is not acceptable through their own social media outlets. If the matter is serious, please contact BBOWT.

Berkshire

Wokefield
Fires and BBQs

Woolley Firs
Increase in dogs scaring sheep

Bowdown Woods
Flytipping

Shepperlands Farm
Flytipping

Hosehill
Boating and Swimming – disturbs nesting terns, lapwing, oyster catchers
Fishing in front of sand martin wall – none nesting in it this year
Creating paths through the reedbed to get to the lake disturbing warblers etc.
Litter, BBQs, football games etc. including on neighbours property too
Dogs out of control chasing wildfowl and young.

Wildmoor Heath
Bike jumps, fires, treehouses, fences cut

Greenham Common
Breaking into old building causing lots of damage to structure and roof, people drinking alcohol.
Fires and BBQs – a large fire on 30th May.
Drones, kites, model aircraft, picnics on lozenges, out of control dogs, fishing in ponds, fire beaters smashed, horseriding and cycling on lozenges,

Snelsmore Common
Car park full and people parking on the road, BBQs all over site, fire, people going to the toilet behind the currently locked toilet building

Moor Copse
People creating new paths through the meadows, damaging wildflowers and potential nesting areas for skylark.
Drive through demolition of gate into field.
Masses of flytipping
Fishing
Logs thrown into river blocking watercourse and sluice downstream.

Haymill Valley
Motorcyclists, flytipping, drinking, littering.

Thatcham Reedbeds and Nature Discovery Centre
Vandalism, flytipping, littering.

Rack Marsh
Padlock/chain cut by motorcyclists to gain access to river crossing.

Itineraries

Lousehill Copse | Well Hidden Local Nature Reserve

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A remnant ancient woodland that has been dated back to over 300 years ago, in the residential area of Tilehurst, In 1992 site was designated a Local Nature Reserve.

Lousehill Copse is dominated by a broadleaf canopy and mixed shrub layer. A circular path takes you round the wood with several spur paths connecting to local neighbourhoods. The wood includes steep slopes but as a result you do get a canopy eye view of the woodland!

The nature reserve is 13.03 hectares (32.2 acres) in size, and is under the management of the Reading Borough Council. The majority of the site comprises natural mature woodland surrounded by housing and featuring a pond, whilst the northern section of the reserve, also known as Comparts Plantation, is a grassy meadow area. To the south the reserve is crossed by Dee Road.

Along with Blundells Copse & McIlroy Park, Lousehill Copse forms part of West Reading Woodlands.

Lousehill Copse is located at Tay Road, Tilehurst, Reading, RG30 4DR

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Clayfield Copse | Reading’s first Local Nature Reserve

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A large, mainly natural open space consisting of fields and native woodlands adjoining the Oxfordshire countryside. Two fields are recreational areas. Some woodland is being actively managed as hazel coppice, and traditional dead hedging defines some of the ancient woodland areas. A wild flower meadow and other fields are being left to regenerate woodland. Beautiful bluebells spot in bluebell season.

Designated as a Reading Nature Reserve in 1991 (and was Reading’s first Local Nature Reserve). Clayfield Copse also features a Sculpture Trail (suitable for pushchairs/wheelchairs) and two of the fields are recreational areas with a skate park.

Popular site for family walker, dog walkers

Clayfield Copse is located at Caversham Park Road, Caversham, Reading, RG4 6R

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Basildon Park | An Unmissable Berkshire Heritage Site

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If you’re looking for an amazing family fun walk, Basildon Park is the one. With 400 acres of stunning Berkshire countryside for the dogs to run around in and seasonal trails to keep the kids entertained, Basildon is a true gem. Also take advantage of the National Trust property by exploring the stunning 18th century house – it’s a true beauty and the decoration has been restored from how it would have been back in it’s day.

There are many things to do & explorer at Basildon Park

The house
Explore Basildon Park, a stunning Georgian mansion surrounded by parkland. Once the home of Lord and Lady Iliffe, it played host to many glamourous parties in the 1950s.
Also if you are fan of Downton Abbey you would like to know that in this house is where the interiors of Grantham House are set.

The garden
With an impressive restoration story of their own, find out what the gardens of Basildon Park have been through to be where they are today.

The parkland
Explore over 400 acres of parkland. With plenty of walks and family fun to be had, you’ll enjoy celebrating the outdoors here, whatever the season.

Basildon Park is located at Lower Basildon, Reading RG8 9NR
Note: As Basildon Park is owned by the National Trust, there is a charge

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