Two important RLT events are coming up, the first on 10 July. And there has been major progress completing our first round of masterplan projects.
There is very positive news on both. This newsletter gives details.
Plans for this event by Thrupp Lake are now firming up. It will run from 2 to 4.30pm There will be refreshments, gentle music and a range of nature activities aimed at all ages. Parking will be very limited, so please walk or cycle if you can.
The event is open to all and entry is free. Do come along. It should be a great afternoon.
We would also welcome help: baking cakes and assistance on the day setting up, marshalling, serving refreshments etc. If you can assist it would be hugely appreciated. Please contact Mike Wilson...in the next few days if at all possible
Further ahead, we are excited that Tony Juniper has agreed to speak at our Annual Forum.
Tony is chair of Natural England. He knows Radley Lakes from his childhood and visited during the campaign to save Thrupp Lake – he was then Director of Friends of the Earth. He has written and spoken extensively, including on nature recovery – of which the Lakes area is a living example. You can find out more about him here.
We will be sending details about the Forum nearer the time, but it will have two main elements: a keynote talk by Tony Juniper followed by a review of the Trust’s first full year and future plans. It will be a Friends-only event, so if you haven’t joined already make sure you do. Details later. Meantime do save the date.
The parking area is looking very smart and is now open for use. There are racks for twelve bikes and space for nine cars, three of them designated for those with disabilities.
The very first bikes to use the racks, complete with child trailer and seat
It’s a huge improvement on what was there before but don’t be tempted to try out the car spaces if you can walk or cycle instead.
Next to the parking area is an information hub, consisting of a large interpretation board about the wider Lakes area, a noticeboard, leaflet holders, and two sturdy benches with a fine view of the Lake. The leaflets are already proving very popular, with about 100 going every week.
The view from the new benches
As ever, this has been a collaborative project and we are grateful to all who have helped. The principal contributors were Tuckwells, who carried out the treework and groundwork, and Radley Parish Council, who provided grant finance. We also had much valued assistance from RWE Generation (planning application costs) and Earth Trust volunteers (cutting back undergrowth). The contractors for the fencing, Carl Adcock, did an excellent job despite encountering rock hard ground not far beneath the surface.
Still to come are biodiverse plantings of natural species. There will be a double width hedgerow behind the parking area fence and further plantings nearby. We have just heard that the Vale of White Horse District Council have awarded us funding from their Climate Action Fund. We plan that the planting itself will be done by volunteers in the autumn. If you would like to be involved, let us know.
Much has also been happening at the Abingdon end of the Lakes area.
We have now completed a much-improved path linking the Sustrans cycle track with the Thames Path. This short but strategically important route was previously deep mud in winter and should now be easily walkable in almost all conditions. It looks very fine. Try it out and let us know what you think.
The new path as it winds towards the Thames Path
At the cycle track end of the path there is now an information hub similar to the one at Thrupp Lake. The surface has been integrated with that of the path. Already in place on the hub is a large interpretation board about the wider RLT area and two benches. To follow are a new board about the immediate Barton Fields area, a noticeboard and leaflet holder. In front of the benches will be an attractive planting of cornfield annuals.
On the left the path towards the Thames, in the centre an on the right the information hub
We are very grateful to the Trust for Oxfordshire Environment, Grundon Waste Management Ltd, Radley Parish Council and Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council for funding, and for the very neat work done by Smallwood Landscaping, our contractors.
This is proving a very popular off-road route to the Lakes area. We are getting very positive feedback, but would like to do some vegetation trimming on the stretch near the rail line. If you would be willing to help with this, please let us know. This would be relatively light work, not like the major job done by the Ramblers in the winter.
As this first round of projects nears completion we are considering those for the next year. These will probably have a greater emphasis on habitats and ecology, and news will follow later.
We also will be considering enhancements to the first year’s projects, so do let us have your feedback.
Most visitors value and respect the Lakes area and do not leave their own footprint behind. But we are getting some reports of exceptions, including litter, barbecues and the cutting of wire into areas with sensitive habitats. This is another issue which we will be giving more attention to over the coming months.
The wire has been cut here between the Sounding Bridge path and Holmes Field, operational land but also home to ground nesting birds.
We now have over 100 Friends. If you have not already joined we hope you will do so. Some of our events are Friends only: David Guyoncourt’s orchid walk in May and the Tony Juniper talk coming up in October are examples. Being a Friend ensures you can come to everything and are up to date with all going on. It is free and can now be done very simply by completing this form.
Even better if you can help with our finances. Funding for our ongoing costs is still much needed. In our next newsletter we will say a bit more about different ways you can help. In the meantime it is very easy to make a donation, with gift aid added, by using the button below.
Many thanks to those who have already done so.
Secretary, The Radley Lakes Trust
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