Now that Lea Farm lake and its surroundings have been acquired by the Trust we are now in a position to invest in some large scale habitat creation. With support from the Trust for Oxfordshire Environment and with generous funding from the Network Rail’s “No Net Loss of Biodiversity on the Greater West” Programme, we will be creating a large additional wetland area around the lake.
The project is part of Lavell’s Wetland Trust’s vision for a protected wetland corridor along the lower Loddon Valley. This proposal will create and manage three wetland habitats in the middle of the Loddon Gravel Pits Biodiversity Opportunity Area, where Lavell’s Wetland Trust (LWT) is establishing a high value habitat link between Dinton Pastures to the south and Sandford Country Park and the Hurst and Twyford Lakes area to the north. Dinton Pastures Countryside Services partners LWT in the project, which will enhance the connectivity between Dinton Pastures and Lea Farm Local Wildlife Sites.
The plan is to create two new areas of reedbed and marsh around the north end of the lake and to manage an area of wet woodland that lies between the Lea Farm Lake site and the Lavell’s Lake wetland area of reedbeds and scrapes and another area of wet woodland to the north of the lake. Once established, the reedbed will provide habitat for a wide range of bird species, such as wintering Bitterns, breeding Water Rail, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting and Little Egret (a rare breeding species in Berkshire, which we hope may breed in the area shortly). The marsh will provide a much greater area for breeding and wintering wildfowl, waders and other open wetland birds. Breeding bird species likely to benefit include: Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover and Redshank. Wintering species that will benefit include: Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Lapwing, Snipe, Jack Snipe and Meadow Pipit. The marsh will also provide a valuable stopover site for migrant waders. The wet woodland areas will be managed for their populations of Loddon Lily and the nearby scrub for warblers and Nightingale.
The necessary permissions have been obtained from Wokingham Borough Council and the Environment Agency and, subject to relaxation of the coronavirus control conditions, we aim to start work in August 2020. Work will continue over a three-year period, though we hope to have the main landscaping and associated work completed by spring 2021.
An outline of the changes shown here Project plan