Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Clean Water for Wildlife - 2017 Survey in the LWV

For a second year, the Lower Windrush Valley water bodies have been surveyed for nutrients – nitrate and phosphate - as part of the Clean Water for Wildlife Survey. Volunteers visited gravel pit lakes, various sites along the River Windrush, and small waters, like ponds, ditches and streams, which are abundant in the area. Once again the results show how important the Lower Windrush Valley gravel pit lakes and ponds are for freshwater wildlife – providing a clean water refuge in a landscape where nutrient pollution is widespread. The data also shows that the River Windrush has high levels of nutrients, despite the effort of the many organisations dedicated to improving our water habitats, and so we must continue to work at the catchment scale to clean up the River Windrush and its tributary streams.  
Of the 82 sites tested in 2017, 66% showed no evidence of nutrient pollution and the majority of that clean water was found in lakes and ponds.
For more information about the survey, results and photographs, please see the short case study on our website here:


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Lower Windrush Valley Project Annual Forum

We had a good turn out for our annual forum event, which took place at Stanton Harcourt Village Hall on 27th November.

We kicked things off with an update on the Lower Windrush Valley Project activities during the last year, including work carried out at Rushy Common and Standlake Common Nature Reserves, the results of the Clean Water for Wildlife survey carried out in May (more on this soon) and a new walks and leisure leaflet, created with the support of Witney Town Council and local businesses.

Lucy updates on the LWVP

The presentation also covered some of the project activities coming up – keep your eyes peeled for further updates on access improvements, the Yellow Fish Scheme and a ‘Friends of the Lower Windrush Valley’ group.

Following the project update we had two fantastic presentations. The first, from John Melling on Birds of the Lower Windrush Valley, looked at trends in numbers of wintering wildfowl as well as highlighting a few of the valley’s more unusual visitors from recent years.

John talks about the Birds of the Lower Windrush Valley
Finally, we heard from Julia Lofthouse of BBOWT who spoke about Water Voles, their habitats and distribution, reasons for their decline and the importance of controlling American Mink populations.

Julia tells us about Water Voles and the populations on the Windrush

A stuffed Water Vole

Friday, 22 September 2017

Standlake Common Meadow – May to August

Early May

There is approximately 6 hectares of grassland at Standlake Common Nature Reserve, the majority of which is along the Southern shore of the lake.

Early June
The meadow supports a diverse range of invertebrates and birds throughout Spring and Summer.

Late June
The site is at it’s most colourful with an array of wild flowers.

Late July
The area is managed as a hay meadow with a hay cut taken in late July/August and grazing by sheep in Autumn. The hay is baled and taken off site after cutting to remove nutrients. If left on site, less desirable grass species and weeds would begin to dominate.

Late August (After Hay Cut)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Wetland Wildlife Family Day at Rushy Common and Tar Lakes

Thursday 1st June, 11am – 3pm

Come and discover the wildlife of Rushy Common and Tar Lakes – there will be pond dipping, a bird hide to explore and lots of other activities to keep you busy.  Picnic’s welcome.

All children must be accompanied by an adult.

More information:

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Clean Water for Wildlife Survey 2017

This year we’ve been taking part in the Clean Water for Wildlife survey again, testing for nutrient pollution in as many water bodies as possible across the Lower Windrush Valley.

We’re aiming to increase awareness of nutrient pollution, get a ‘snapshot’ of water quality across the Lower Windrush Valley and contribute the results to the Freshwater Habitats Trust national database.

One of the ponds tested at Standlake common Nature Reserve

With such a dry year and testing taking place a little later than last year we’ve had lots of volunteers reporting dry ponds! We’ve still managed to test the majority of last year’s sites, with a few additions.
Results are being collated at the moment and will be shared soon.

1st Standlake Brownies visited Rushy Common and took part in the water testing at Tar Lakes
One of the groups of Brownies testing the Hardwick Brook at Tar Lakes

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

New Kestrel Nest Box at Standlake Common

As many of the regular Standlake Common bird hide visitors will know, the Kestrel nest box has been in need of replacement for some time.

I am happy to say that we installed a new box this morning with the help of Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks. Photos below...