Great reserves to visit in January

Lapwing flying against rainbow by Nick Upton/2020VISION

With nearly 90 nature reserves to choose from in our three counties, which are the best to visit this month?
Frosty teasel

Dry Sandford Pit, Oxon

Dry Sandford Pit is lovely to visit all year round. In the winter, head down early for atmospheric misty mornings. This is a great reserve to practice your winter tree id, take a closer look at the bark and buds and see if you can work out the species.

Explore the area and nearby nature reserves on the Cothill Fen Wild Walk.

Dry Sandford Pit

Cothill Fen Wild Walk

Tufted ducks

Tufted ducks by Margaret Holland

Hosehill Lake, Berks

Take a stroll around this former gravel pit and look out for the variety of water birds that spend the winter here.

You'll see ducks that dive down to feed below the surface and others that dabble around the shallows to feed.

Hosehill Lake

Learn more about divers and dabblers

Dew on plant

Dew on plant by Katrina Martin/2020Vision

Iffley Meadows, Oxon

Iffley Meadows is lovely in winter for its open vistas and riverside location. Visit in the morning for early morning frost on last season's plants and droplets on spiderwebs. Alternatively visit later in the day as it's also lovely at sunset.

Iffley Meadows

Bullfinch

Bullfinch on frosty hedgerow by Mark Hamblin/2020Vision

Moor Copse, Berks

The River Pang meanders through the woodland providing a beautiful setting that is thought to have inspired EH Shepard to illustrate The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham. As you follow the marked Wildlife Walk beside the river and through the woods, look out for the variety of birds flitting around the trees as they hunt for insects to eat.

Walks through the meadows are truly memorable when the landscape is encrusted with a sparkling frost.

Moor Copse

Fieldfares

Fieldfares on hawthorn by Chris Gomersall/2020Vision

Rushbeds Wood, Bucks

This popular area of ancient broadleaved woodland, bordered by unspoilt meadows, is one of the few remaining fragments of the Royal Hunting Forest of Bernwood, it even appears on a map of 1590. 

Follow the marked Wildlife Walk through the reserve to explore it further and see what wildlife you discover.

Rushbeds Wood

Lapwing

Lapwing flock by Nick Upton/2020Vision

Upper Ray Meadows, Bucks

Look out for ducks such as teal and wigeon, and flocks of lapwing and golden plover feeding and roosting on the shallow floodwaters of these meadows.

The shallow pools, scrapes and ditches across the meadows that attract birds in winter help to retain water and wetness into late spring - a crucial time for feeding wader chicks.

Upper Ray Meadows

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