Happy New Year from The Radley Lakes Trust

This newsletter brings you up to date with some recent developments and sets out some ideas for events we might organise in 2022.

The Trust

Following a trawl for applicants we have welcomed two additional trustees: Craig Woolhouse and Adrian Lawson. Craig is a civil engineer with a background in the Environment Agency and flood management. Adrian’s background is in IT project management. Both are recently retired, live locally, bring enthusiasm as well as relevant experience, and are already making an impact on our masterplan projects.

There remains a space for a further trustee, so let us know if you are interested.

Masterplan implementation

We have at last received planning permission for the small car/bike parking area at the Thrupp Lane end of the Lakes. This project will be carried out with careful regard for natural life. The line of leylandii will be felled in the winter before the bird nesting season, groundwork will follow in the spring, with opening – all going well - around May. The project will then be completed in the autumn by planting of a double width native hedgerow. Much scope here for volunteer involvement.

Alongside this new point of arrival we will be creating an entrance ‘hub’ with a large information board about the Lakes area as a whole and somewhere to sit.

At the other end of the Lakes we will be creating a similar entrance hub on Barton Fields. Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council have just awarded us a grant towards creation of the hub and also towards the management of the Barton Fields area by Abingdon Naturalists’ Society.  A very welcome Christmas present.

MJ Creative have designed for us the large information boards that will go at the two hubs, and also two smaller ones to go alongside the new permissive path from Radley village to the Lakes via the ‘Sounding Bridge’.  The design is centred round an excellent map, which we will also reproduce in leaflet form.

Near final information board for the two hubs
Near final information board for the two hubs

Land ownership

RWE are disposing of their freeholds in the Lakes area to Tuckwells. These include Thrupp Lake and also the stretch of the new permissive path between the Sounding Bridge and Thrupp Lake.  James Lodge, managing director of Tuckwells, has told us they do not plan to alter the character of the Lake as a nature reserve nor to alter permissive rights of access.  The Trust have enjoyed excellent relationships with RWE and look forward to doing so with Tuckwells.  They are already providing invaluable help with our parking area by Thrupp Lake.

We have also strengthened relationships with the Vale of White Horse District Council, whose objectives for green spaces are very similar to our own.  They own Barton Fields and we and Abingdon Naturalists are developing a new management agreement with them which should provide a more secure basis for future planning.

Volunteers scything on Barton Fields
Volunteers scything on Barton Fields

Events in 2022

We are putting together a calendar of events for you in 2022 and would be grateful for your views.

For Friends of the Trust we are considering.

  • A set-piece occasion where we have a quality speaker followed by an opportunity for trustees to report on events and to listen to your views and ideas;
  • Guided walks, say two, in areas which are rich in natural life but normally off-limits. The orchid glades in May/June are a possibility but by no means the only one.

On a more open basis, possibilities include:

  • ‘Tea on the Lakes’, as previously run by Friends of Radley Lakes (FRL), with linked activities around the Lake and the new ‘hub’. Perhaps May or June.
  • Either as part of the same or separately, an activity that is more family orientated and appeals to younger children
  • A quiz, with supper, again building on what FRL did. In the darker autumn months.
  • An active presence at bazaars. club open days etc

There is a limit to how much we can do in our first full year. But if you have views and ideas, or better still would like to help, please let us know. Preferably in the next fortnight, to help us firm up our plans.

Friends of Radley Lakes Trust

Whatever events we organise we will ensure they include ‘exclusive’ opportunities for Friends that would not otherwise be available. We so far have 50 Friends, and rising, and would like to have more.  Joining is simple and free. (So is converting existing FRL membership to being a Friend of the Trust.) If you have not already become a Friend of the Trust  let me know (details below) and I will send you our simple application form.  

Richard Dudding
Secretary, The Radley Lakes Trust