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New Tern Raft Ready at Lea Farm Lake

In the north east corner of the lake is a new tern raft ready to put out when enough terns arrive to breed, at the moment only one or two Common Terns have been seen. We expect mid-May will be when there are enough terns present to put the raft out. If it goes out too early the Black-headed Gulls will take it over and the terns will end up on the island at risk of flooding.

We had two rafts but one has reached the end of it’s useful life and the other is stranded in the reeds on the north shore and is on the bank between the edge of the lake and the lake, so would be very difficult to get back onto the lake. This raft also looks like it would need some major repairs before it could be used.

So to have a raft for the terns to use this summer we decided to buy a raft from Green Future Building Ltd who have supplied rafts to a number of RSPB and other nature reserves.

New Lea Farm Lake Hide Progress – Bore Holes Drilled

If you visited Lea Farm Lake this morning you might have seen someone drilling some bore holes on the north spit at the site of the proposed new hide. This was required to complete the building regs and will enable the foundations and supports for the hide to be specified, ordered and eventually installed.

So progress on the new hide is being made, we have planning permission but need building regs before work can start on building the hide. Hopefully if someone can be found to build the hide and the weather this Summer/Autumn allows, then the new hide can be built this year. But costs have risen since the original appeal so we will probably have to ask for more donations when we know the true cost.

Landfill Viewing Point (LVP) Complete

A new viewing point for looking over the landfill is now complete, there is bench and arm rest and a screen with half roof to offer some protection from the wind and rain from the South.

It can be found at the far end of the car park field at Lavell’s Lake, it can be accessed through the gate beyond the stile. The combination is the same as for Ron’s hide and Renton’s screen.

The surrounding fencing is the to stop people from going onto the landfill, where no public are allowed and to prevent anyone disturbing the wildlife.

Enjoy – a Great White Egret has already been seen from here but come the Spring it will be a good raptor and migration watchpoint.

This has been built with a grant from Hurst Village Society, we are very grateful to them for this support, so we hope everyone enjoys it.

Teal Hide Rebuild Completed

The new Teal hide has been built and is open for use. There was a problem with the door locking people in at the start but the catch has been removed so you cannot get stuck inside. Also the black paint on the seats took a long time to dry, but seems to be dry now, good idea to check before you sit down incase there is still a spot or two that has not dried yet.

There might be a few minor jobs to complete the hide, the ramp has a small step to get onto it, so not quite wheelchair friendly yet.


If you have not been to Dinton in the last few weeks then you probably have not seen the notices about the replacement of Teal Hide. They say the hide is closed from 16th October, but it was still open today (19th). The work is scheduled to start on Monday 23rd October, so the hide will definitely be out of use then. The new hide is hoped to be ready at the end of November.

Update 1/11/2023: Old Teal Hide has been removed, but no sign of work on new hide yet, flooding does not help.

Update 9/11/2023: Work has started on new hide base

Note during work there will be regular vehicle access at the yellow gate, so be careful when passing this area.

Big Changes to Membership and Members Area

Everyone who is a member and has an email should have received details of the changes to how we handle membership.

We are switching to using Membermojo to handle our memberships.

Also we have to change our HSBC bank account and move from using FoLL PayPal to LWT PayPal.

And membership rates have increased to cover our increased costs due to all the work and responsibilities we now have.


New members when joining via the web site now, will be taken to Membermojo which will handle the joining process.

Existing members will get emails from Membermojo when their membership is due for renewal to join using the new scheme, remembering to cancel the old payments if they are recurring in PayPal or standing orders to our old bank account.

The old Members only area of the web site is no longer available, a page is provided in Membermojo which contains hide codes and other membership information.

Please bear with us while we change over, we have tried to make it as painless as possible but we could not delay these changes any longer.

LWT AGM Tuesday 20th June at 7:30

The 2023 AGM will be held on Tuesday 20 June at 7.30 pm.

The meeting will be held at Early St Peters Church Hall, Church Road, Early. Reading, RG6 1EY.

Additional parking will be available in the adjacent school car park.

The AGM will be followed by a talk.

We hope to see as many of you as possible.

Dawn Chorus Walk 2023

There will be a Dawn Chorus Walk this year led by Fraser Cottington on Saturday 29th April starting at 5:30am in the Lavell’s car park opposite the Dinton Activity Centre. We suggest a donation of £2, children free. See Events for further details.

Lea Farm Hide Code has Changed

The code for the padlocks to access Ron’s hide and the Waitrose screen has been changed.

If you have paid your membership fee then you should have received the new code. But due to the death of Les Blundell our membership secretary, we might have some people down as owing membership fees when you have paid, so please let us know if you think you should have received the code if you have not received it. Please also check it has not gone into your spam folder.

Les Blundell – Memorial Details

We have just received sad news that our long time member and Membership Secretary Les Blundell has suffered a stroke and sadly died on Sunday in a Sydney hospital. Les was in Australia visiting family and was due to be flying back today. We pass on our condolences to his partner Carol and family. He will be sadly missed by the committee and many members.

Memorial for Les –

As many of you know Les passed away late January. We will be holding a memorial for him on Saturday 4th March and hope you can join us, please see attached for details. He requested donations to RNLI instead of flowers and we will be celebrating his life so please don’t wear black. We hope to see you there.

At Dinton Activity Centre, 4th March 2pm to 4pm

Carol Hopperton

(for catering purposes it would be useful to know how many will attend – please email if you are coming. If you forget to email me, don’t worry about it)×768.jpg

Renton Righelato

A message from Fraser Cottington

Renton Righelato – The passing of a friend, co-trustee and overall champion of Berkshire nature conservation

The news of Renton’s passing is a shock to me, probably to most of us – when we learn of friends and loved ones faced with a battle with cancer, all we can do is be hopeful their battle is victorious. Cancer is cruel, some win, some go into remission, only to have it come back worse and take them away from us, it always feels sudden and without warning.

In our case we have lost so much, Renton’s ever present sense of humour, patient diligence, attention to detail and him being a warrior for conservation in Berkshire and his deep onboard knowledge of bird status and history. Yet this description still barely skims the surface.

Renton helped drive the formation of LWT from it’s FOLL status and we should take a moment to take stock of how rapidly the positive changes have happened, so much is owed to Renton, not least for more or less singularly writing and succeeding with the Network Rail/TOE electrification mitigation grant. Our biggest grant ever bringing us £44,000 to seed a huge new reed bed, large marshlands and defined East boundary fence, which has changed the course of how we view and enjoy Whinchat, Stonechat, Wheatear, Meadow Pipits and a lot more, plus tree management and chainsaw training for two people, means we will be reaping the benefits of this achievement for decades to come.

I believe we can all honour Renton by helping push forward with the new North spit hide, visit it often, stay that bit longer and know he is with us in spirit loving the downstream ripples his devoted life has created for the wildlife to thrive and for us to enjoy.


Renton’s funeral will be for family and close friends. A memorial occasion will be arranged for a later date when it is hoped that some members of the club will attend.

Web Site Available Again

The fact you can see this means the web site is up and is now on it’s new host, so it should not disappear on Wednesday when the old host is shutdown.

Email has now been setup so “Contact us” should work now, but there is still a problem of getting stuck on multiple sending that I will look at again.

If you see any problems then email me directly for now –

Sorry for the downtime but I had to wait till the internet lost all references to the old host, which meant I could not bring up the new web site as it would try to go back to the old host when I tried. The old host was still found after 12 hours but after 15 hours it had gone, they said it could take up to 24 hours.



LWT Web Site Host Changing

UPDATE: Web Site moving 10pm tonight Sunday 12th September, so will disappear for a while – hopefully will be back up in a few hours. DO NOT POST UPDATES AFTER 10pm. I tried to do a seemless changeover but that does not seem to work as I hoped.

Our current web site host will be switching off their servers on 15th September, so our web site will be moved to a new host. This should not affect you but it might mean the LWT web site is not available for a few hours while the transfer is completed.

Also if you are planning to post your magnum opus you have been working on to the members area, then please can you wait a few days till the move is complete, to make sure your work is not lost.

The web site address is not changing the only changes are to the web host and the DNS settings that directs your browser to the new host. The DNS setting changes can take a few hours to update round the web hence it is possible that our web site is not available for a few hours.

I hope to redirect the domain first to the new host to make sure it works as this should affect less people, if that works then I will update the domain to the new site.

Also the new web site host should have added protection as it should be a https: site, so you should not get a security warning when logging into the members area. This also means the members area is secure which makes sure we meet GDPR rules. The new host will be in the UK or EU which also means we are GDPR compliant.

Hopefully this will all go smoothly and I will update the news when complete.

Tier 4 Lockdown Restrictions

While we are in Tier 4, sorry to say that Ron’s hide (at Lea Farm) will be closed and the bird walks cancelled.

The current government guidelines for Tier 4 imply that work parties are still allowed, so currently they will continue.

If there are any changes in the lockdown level or government guidance then we will update the web site to let you know how it affects you and us.

Covid-19 Lockdown Update

The work party on Sunday 22nd November is on, this is allowed by government rules as long as everyone follows the 2m distancing rule and has not had Covid-19 or had to isolate in the last 2 weeks.

We will adhere to the Government rules for Covid19, so once again we will reluctantly have to say that Ron’s hide will be closed from 5 November until further notice.

Also bird walks are also cancelled until the end of Lockdown 2.

Reminder AGM on Zoom Tuesday 22nd September 2020 at 7:30pm

Our postponed Annual General Meeting is to be held via Zoom on Tuesday 22 September 2020 at 7.30pm.

A link to join the meeting has been send to everyone who has given us their email address, if you have not received the details and would like to join then please contact us.

As Zoom switches to whoever makes the most noise, then you will be muted during the AGM and unmuted when you are allowed to ask questions, so someone sneezing won’t cut off the main speaker. To be sure of this then mute you microphone if you are not planning to say anything (option in lower left corner of Zoom window).

LWT AGM 2020

Our postponed Annual General Meeting is to be held via Zoom on 22 September 2020 at 7.30pm. A link to join the meeting will be sent a few days beforehand.

Please would you email  if you plan to attend, saying how your name will appear on your zoom login, as we need to record attendees at the meeting.

If you join a Zoom meeting from a Windows PC your name will default to your user name on the PC you are using, you can change this name within Zoom. Your user name is the name you login with, or if you are the only one who uses the PC it is the one it prompts you to login as, when logged in to your PC – your user name can be seen in the Start menu just above Documents when you slide up to the person shaped icon above the power button icon.

Lea Farm Lake habitat development project starts

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