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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 bid success for second ToE grant

Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment – ToE whom assess, process and award Network Rail’s grants, offered LWT another chance to bid for money and we are delighted to announce that we were successful,  we have been awarded £31,558.00 and in April 2024 we will receive the first 50%.

The entire amount will be invested in creating;

  • New islands from the South spit, aimed at creating habitats for breeding waders and Shelduck
  • Reshaping and raising the old shingle island by 16″ to above summer flash flooding levels
  • Creating a significant shallow water and marsh area mid way along the East shore

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

North Spit Hide at Lea Farm Lake – Planning Permission Granted

LWT are thrilled to announce their planning application for the new hide at the North spit, has been successful and this now places us in an exciting time to plan the construction elements and plan the build dates, which will most likely be from 1st August 2023.

LWT hide drawing 011122rr

We all know inflation is a factor for everyday items now and we anticipate some, or perhaps many of our cost estimates will now have increased, so if we can take this opportunity to humbly ask that if anyone whom has not already donated towards what will turn out to be an outstanding new hide, then please do so if you can at the GoFundMe page, the link is here

Waitrose Screen at Lea Farm Lake now open

LWT are delighted to announce that the Waitrose Screen at Lea Farm Lake (LFL) is now open, all members can access the screen from the Loddon path via a new gate approximately 250m past Ron’s hide.

The screen offers views previously out of sight from Ron’s and when the Phragmites reed bed is mature, then cut each autumn, we expect fantastic views of many more Snipe, Jack Snipe, Water Rail, Egrets, Teal, Garganey, Kingfisher and lots more

The gate has a combination padlock with the same code as Ron’s hide, but at this location we require the lock to be put back on and scrambled on entrance, but as always members can escort passing non members to show them what the facilities they can use if they join.

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.

Guided Walk Prize Draw

I have finally drawn the 3 names from the 160 people who generously donated, joined or renewed from October to late April when we hit 500 members for the first time.

To add some suspense please click on the link to find out if you were a winner and expect contact from me in the coming days : Draw Video

Thanks to everyone who took part and raised money towards to the new hide.

Landmark membership number achieved

LWT is delighted to announce we just hit 500 memberships for the first time.

This is the first of several milestones Fraser Cottington has set for LWT and this is seen as the beginning of the next era of our charity and one where we are certain we can cover all our overheads as relatively new land owners.

As promised, Fraser will be carrying out a draw and offering three guided walk prizes to lucky winners, the draw and names of the winners will be announced soon.

Our next mission will be to communicate with our entire membership to ask how we can offer;

  • More value
  • New services
  • Grow and retain even more members
  • Grow a sustained income

Planning Application Notice – 220665

LWT received the planning application notice for the new hide and have duly placed that notice on Ron’s hide gate, for all to see and comment if required. Fraser met with a planning officer on site this week and we now await a positive response, for which we have been given an estimate time frame of around late April.

Assuming we get that positive response, LWT then has a lot of work to do investigating which materials have the longest lead times, so we can commence building at the beginning of August as hoped.

For those involved in the timber/carpentry industry, do can get in touch if you believe you can help us source our materials in a time and cost efficient manner.

LWT receive a £1,000 ‘Give a Little Love’ donation from Waitrose Woodley

LWT is delighted to announce we were selected to receive a donation from Waitrose Woodley as part of their new ‘Give a Little Love’ charity donation scheme. Fraser Cottington went to the Woodley store to meet Jackie and Dawn who run the charity giving scheme at that store and presented him with a cheque on the 1st December.

Fraser Cottington, Dawn & Jackie – Waitrose Woodley

“LWT is incredibly grateful to Waitrose Woodley for this generous donation, we’ll be putting it to good use as soon as the weather allows – the plan is to build a mini bird watching hut in a quiet marshy corner of Lea Farm Lake, which, as the vegetation matures will offer outstanding views of Kingfishers and Egrets all year and Water Rail, Snipe and hopefully Bittern in the winter”.

“The timing of this donation couldn’t be better, we carried out major habitat improvement and expansion work in 2020, this donation will enable us able to add yet another facility to view and enjoy the wildlife, we hope to get it built before the 2020 breeding season”.

Everyone is able to become a member of LWT and start enjoying the birds immediately click here to join

Appeal for volunteers for weekdays

Dear all our members, things are going amazingly well on site and in the background, it’s literally never been a more exciting time for LWT and our members.

Most of you already know LWT volunteer needs have greatly increased – both on and off the nature reserve. To rise to these needs we now need to arrange a weekday work party, once a month to start with, over the winter months.

Right now, we need about 10 people or more to support chainsaw work at Lea Farm Lake and on Lavell’s boundary and the best day for our chainsaw man – Keith is a Monday, or Tuesday, so if you can help, please contact me on, add I’ll add you to our list to help out.

Also before Christmas, we have 400 plants to go in the ground, so we urgently need a team of up to 20 people to help us do that too. It will be a case of bring a fork and spade and we’ll show you what to do.

More work is planned in 2022, I just need to gauge the level of support for week days, but whatever happens we MUST raise the number of work parties each year by 50% or more.

There is plenty of other lighter work we really need to get on top of each year, from staining fences, trimming vegetation, re-hanging nest boxes, serving drinks at our work parties, to manning a table to greet members of the public when we are working near a footpath – helping to grow our membership.

I’ll let you know more about how folks can help me do charity promotional events early in 2022, but if you do have experience, or are just happy chatting and engaging with the public, basically telling our story to grow our membership, then please do contact me

Thanks, Fraser

Chief Visionary Officer

Colour ringed Little Egret originated from Walthamstow

The North Thames Gull Group & Southern Colour Ring Group were delighted to hear about our sighting this week of the Little Egret ringed at Walthamstow 15th May 2019 and have been very kind to provide this link to it’s history : Here

Saying – “Many thanks for sending in your sighting to the North Thames Gull Group and Southern Colour Ringing Group. Great one this is a first sighting of a bird ringed in 2019 at Walthamstow. Proves fledging which is good and shows that many of our birds that just seem to disappear do get off and turn up elsewhere”

It is always fascinating to get colour ring details, so do all keep an eye out and send details to Fraser

An incentive to reach LWT’s goal of 500 memberships

LWT membership levels are at all time highs, around 469 which is fantastic in itself. Many people will be aware Fraser Cottington said he was dedicated to growing membership and with next year’s building of the new North Spit Hide and another announcement we hope to make soon, we think there are lots of reasons to join.

For everyone who makes a donation on the GoFundMe link, or anyone who joins as a new member, or even re-joins if you’ve dropped off for more than 18 months, your name will go into draw. Fraser is offering three prizes in the form of his time as your personal bird guide;

Fraser Cottington has been visiting the Dinton Pastures area since 1981 and very few people can offer his depth of knowledge on where and when to see certain birds, so don’t delay, get your name in the hat and join , or donate to LWT as soon as possible.

1st Prize : A personal guided tour of all of Dinton and Lea Farm Lake for up to 4 hours – This can also be banked and used a dawn chorus walk in April 2022
2nd Prize : A 3 hour guided walk to any young person with up to 3 friends and their families
3rd Prize : A personal guided tour for the last 2 hours of light, to see various evening favourites such as Bittern, Woodcock and hopefully Barn Owl. This has to be used by 1st March 2022
In all cases it can be a family and I will tailor the walk to your desired focus, so if you want to learn more about calls and song, or gulls, wildfowl, or anything else, I can do all those things
GoFundMe link is here

Lea Farm Lake – North Spit Hide formal EA & planning application imminent

It’s taken a while to fund raise enough, to get specifications set out and to get the people arranged to build, but we are pretty much there and are about to go ahead with Environment Agency permission paperwork. One requirement is that the floor level will be above the 1:100 year flood level, which was required for Ron’s, so this week we arranged a surveyor to take the levels off Ron’s and position a marker post on the North Spit.

We cannot say 100% until we commence materials purchasing that we have all the money we need, because of the many shortages and price increases of various elements, timber being one example. But all we can say is we’ll keep everyone informed and add that if you haven’t already donated towards the hide, please do go to our GoFundMe page and give as much as you can afford.

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.

Extra work party 15th August

The end of the bird nesting season is upon us and we have lots to do, so we are having extra work parties for most of the rest of this year. 15th August is about increasing the speed of growth and spread of the Phragmites in the Network Rail created diggings. We need people with spades and wellies to help us transplant the reed roots (Rhizomes) in spade sized big muddy clumps so they carry on growing into late autumn. If you have a wheel barrow you don’t mind getting muddy, bring that too. Meet Lavell’s car park 09:50.

Ron’s hide at Lea Farm Lake re-opening 12th April

Note – Booking of Ron’s hide is no longer required since most Covid restrictions have been lifted.

In line with the Government’s step 2, LWT will be re-opening Ron’s hide on 12th April, from 05:00.

As before access will be via the Visibook application, bookings are only available to LWT members

A full list of rules must be read and can be downloaded here

Use of the hide is limited to 1 household at any one time and a maximum of 4 people

  • Masks must be worn when more than one household is using the hide
  • Hand sanitizer must be brought with you
  • The outer gate MUST be locked upon entry to ensure those who have not booked cannot just walk in

PLEASE NOTE : The padlock access code is emailed to you upon booking


  • Share the padlock code with anyone
  • Stay in the hide beyond your booking slot, WhatsApp Fraser Cottington and he will confirm if you can remain in the hide
  • Allow anyone through the outer gate, if they are booked they will have the code