This week I briefly visited College Lake, a site owned by BBOWT (The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust). As you can tell from the title of this blogpost, this is my favourite nature reserve owned by a wildlife trust. There is many reasons for this, apart from the fact it is one of the closest reserves to me:
1) It has stunning scenery
You walk through the visitor centre and you are struck by this site. When I first visited this reserve two years ago I just stood there in shock for a minute or so. The landscape is so open due to the fact that the reserve is in an old quarry and you really feel like you are in a truly wild place, even though the site is man made. From certain aspects of the reserve you can get great views of some of my other favourite places to visit including Coombe Hill and Aldbury Nowers, another wildlife trust reserve.
2) It has wonderful wildlife
Personally I have recorded around 200 species on this site including around 100 flowering plants.
I can imagine there are thousands more species on site and I look forward to finding and recording as many of those as possible. My records then all go to BBOWT so they can use this to influence their site management plans. I have recently found some new species to this site which is always nice.
Here are some of my favourite photos of species that I have found on site:
3) They do wonderful conservation work
Apart from the quarry which is good for water birds the site has an area of woodland, chalk grassland and arable grassland. The field at the top of the reserve is my favourite part of the reserve in the summer as it is filled with flowers that would have been frequent in traditional cornfields but now, due to agricultural intensification have now became rather endangered. It is worth visiting the reserve just for this field.
4) They are keen on inspiring the next generation
Quite often when I visit the reserve I can hear the laughter of children. The site staff and volunteers seem really keen on helping engage children with generation. From sitting in the woods and having teddybear picnics to pond dipping sessions, the children seem to learn lots and forge a connection with nature. Which I imagine many readers of this blog will realise is a great step forward in a world where children are becoming more and more disconnected with the natural world. I personally like visiting the pond dipping pond myself, you are never too old to stare into a pond and wonder what creatures are inhabiting the depths below.
5) They have a wonderful cafe. What more could you want after you have spent many a happy hour exploring a reserve?!
Homemade cake in the College Lake cafe- great way to start the weekend pic.twitter.com/CXoR2lAPHv
— College Lake (@college_lake) August 23, 2014