Thatcham Reedbeds

Thatcham Reedbeds. Photo by Pam Brophy.

The reserve which joins the Nature Discovery Centre Lake is called Thatcham Reedbeds. This reserve is one of the largest areas of inland reedbed in Southern England and is home to a number of rare species.

An emblematic species for the site is the tiny and nationally rare Desmoulin's snail which is currently doing well on the reserve. Thatcham Reedbeds is a short walk from the centre. Pick up a map from reception.

Wildlife at the Nature Discovery Centre

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Broad bodied chaser by Adrian WallingfordBroad bodied chaser by Adrian Wallingford

July 2017. Keep dogs and children out of the lake. The lake at the Nature Discovery Centre has a growth of blue-green algae known as a ‘bloom’. This is a naturally occurring process during the summer. An algal bloom can produce toxins that could be harmful to people and dogs, so we ask visitors not to let their dogs go into the water, to keep children out of the water, and to avoid skin contact with the algal bloom. The algal bloom uses up oxygen in the water at night, which can suffocate fish and other creatures. Oxygen is also used up when the bloom decays. Please do not feed the birds on the lake. Nutrients from grain, bread and other bird food have a negative effect on water quality. The birds won’t be hungry if you don’t feed them, there’s plenty of other plant-based food for them in and around the lake.

The Nature Discovery Centre is surrounded by a mosaic of different habitats with fantastic wildlife to see all year around. Follow the paths around the lake to visit the internationally important Thatcham Reedbeds nature reserve or explore some of the nearby woodland.

There is large network of footpaths, perfect for family days out or for the more adventurous. A bird hide provides stunning views over the reedbeds. You can collect a key for the bird hide from reception at the Nature Discovery Centre.

Collared dove by Adrian Wallington

During the autumn and winter, large groups of wintering wildfowl congregate on the lake, whilst the reedbeds and surrounding woodland and hedgerows host birds like fieldfare and redwing.

In spring and summer purpose-built rafts attract breeding common terns. House martins, swallows and swifts are a common sight over the lake and surroundings.


Bell heather by Adrian Wallingford

In summer there are glorious displays of purple loosestrife, yellow-flag iris, reeds and sedges on the floating island, the lake shore and in the reedbeds.

All year around look out for the willow and alder around the edge of the lake, and hawthorn, blackthorn, spindle and bullace in the hedgerows.

Meadow brown by Adrian Wallingford

A variety of moths and butterflies can be seen, including garden tiger, butterbur, waved black, holly blue, and gatekeeper.

There are dragonflies and damselflies including beautiful and banded demoiselles, emperor and four-spotted chaser.

A range of beetles such as bloody-nosed beetle and rhinoceros beetle have been recorded on site.



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    Nature Tots - Didcot

    Wednesday 18th October 2017,
    9.30am - 11.30am

    Venue: Sutton Courtenay Environmental Education Centre, nr Didcot

    An opportunity for your pre-school little ones to interact with and learn from nature. Come along for an outdoor nature play, games, stories and craft on our wild and wonderful nature reserve. BOOKING ESSENTIAL.

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