Habitat improvement

April 2017


Earth Trust’s continuing works at Radley Lakes

If you are walking around Thrupp Lake on a Thursday you might see Earth Trust’s Thursday Volunteer Group hard at work.  They have been busy constructing and installing bat boxes, bird boxes and an otter holt and will soon be putting tern rafts on the lake, so look out for them. Community Wildlife Warden, Lucy Tomkinson of Earth Trust has very kindly sent us a report and photographs to explain the work they have been doing."

Read Lucy's report by following the link /userfiles/file/FriendsRadleyLakesReportApril2017.pdf

December 2016 

Latest news update from Lucy Tomkinson. Read the PDF here.

October 2016

This summer saw the start of the second year of Npower’s 5 year aftercare phase for the pulverised fire ash (PFA) filled Areas G, H/I,  & Je/P and I am happy to report Earth Trust was awarded the contract for the second year, following on from the brilliant habitat work all the volunteers carried out last year. 
The main aim of the restoration of Areas G, H/I and Je/P is to ensure that the restored areas at Radley Lakes provide a diverse range of habitats for a variety of species associated with the woodland, wetlands and water bodies in the area as well as the specialist species associated with the PFA substrate.
The second year of aftercare will see us continue our work with the Thursday volunteers supporting priority habitats and species started last year as well as creating new habitat features. This summer we have been able to focus on the meadow areas of Area G and Je/P. This has involved a lot of volunteer hours (and biscuits!) pulling ragwort and thistles from the meadow before they went to seed. We then hired a cut and collect machine (and driver) to do the meadow cut at the start of September.
This Autumn and Winter we will be concentrating on increasing habitat diversity in an establishing area of woodland in area H/I, through extending the rides and glades created last winter into some more orchid rich areas. It is our hope that plant diversity within the establishing woodland will be enhanced by the presence of rides and glades through the wood, as these will act as edge habitat which open up the woodland to light and adds structural variety and diversity. 
We will also be maintaining the areas we cleared of willow last year as open ground by cutting back the willow re-growth. In these areas the willow scrub was in danger of replacing what was a lovely open feeding area for waders into a dense wet scrubby area prefect for predators. By cutting the willow we have opened the area out again for wading birds and it worked incredibly well this year as we had at least three pairs of lapwings nesting!
Volunteers on Lake G removing excess ragwort. Not all as it is the larval food plant of the cinnabar moth,
Volunteers clearing excess Ragwort from Area G © Lucy Tomkinson (not all the Ragwort is removed as it is the larval food plant of the cinnabar moth).
Whilst working in Areas G, H/I and Je/P this year myself and the volunteers have seen so much wildlife, some of the highlights for me have been Skylarks, Little Grebes, Sand Martins and hundreds of Marsh Helleborines!
Finally I would just like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved in the habitat work we’ve already carried out this year!

Lucy Tompkinson

Community Reserves Warden, Earth Trust






In March 2016 we reported that Earth Trust had received funding from The Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment 2 (TOE2) for work on a biodiversity project at Thrupp Lake. Volunteers have now started work at Earth Trust headquarters to make 13 bat boxes, 15 bird boxes and two tern rafts which will be installed later in the year.

Making tern rafts © Lucy Tompkinson











Coppicing of Thrupp Lake Islands

Rotational coppicing and scrub clearance was carried out on selected Thrupp Lake islands at the beginning of February this year. This is an annual process which started in 2013 and for the past two years it has been paid for by FRL as part of an annual donation towards the management of Thrupp Lake.

Black-headed gulls on one of the coppiced islands c Steve Stephens

Black-headed gulls on one of the coppiced islands © Steve Stephens











Some of the islands have been cleared for Common Terns and Oystercatchers who nest in colonies out in the open so that they can see and attack predators. If the islands become tree covered, they are unable to nest there. It is important to have a mosaic of habitats around the Radley Lakes areas that will enable many species of birds and other wildlife to breed there. Look out for the Common Terns which will arrive in April.

TOE2 Funding for Thrupp Lake Projects

A report from Lucy Tomkinson, Community Reserves Warden at Earth Trust.

Thanks to funding from The Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment 2 (TOE2),  Earth Trust is about to start work on a biodiversity enhancement project at Thrupp Lake.

The project will enable us to add new biodiversity features to the Thrupp Lake Reserve as well as continue our existing work with the Thursday volunteer group supporting priority habitats and species. The project will concentrate on increasing habitat diversity in the small pocket of establishing meadow known as St David’s Meadow, through sowing wildflower seed and planting plug plants.

We will also be focusing on increasing the nesting habitats for a range of species. This will entail building an otter holt on a suitable island (we know Thrupp Lake is within the Abingdon otters’ territory) and installing a number of bird boxes, including a tawny owl box, and bat boxes in suitable locations around the lake to provide more roost sites for the noctule bats and soprano pipistrelle bats that live there. We also plan to build tern rafts, to put on the lake to provide much needed ground nesting areas, and an artificial sand martin barrel to encourage the local population of sand martins to breed at Thrupp Lake; both of these species are Amber listed Birds of Conservation Concern.

Volunteers building a Tern Raft in West Berkshire c Lucy Tomkinson

Volunteers building a Tern Raft © Lucy Tomkinson













The project will also help us to continue the rotational coppicing of the lake islands, opening them up for nesting waterfowl such as coots, great crested grebes and roosting overwintering ducks like shoveler and teal. We will also carry on using the coppiced materials to widen the islands as potential nesting sites and roosting sites for overwintering.

A tern raft - the boxes on top are to protect the chicks (c) Lucy Tomkinson

 A tern raft (boxes on top are to protect the chicks) ©  Lucy Tomkinson













The work being carried out will contribute to UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), contributing towards Oxfordshire’s