The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust are constantly reviewing the guidance about Covid-19 and taking the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of members of the public and our volunteers and staff. We will keep this page updated with the latest news about the measures we are taking to keep people safe and how these may affect you when visiting and contacting us.
Latest update: January 2021
Most of our nature reserves and car parks are open to the public. When there are exceptions, we will keep this page updated.
Please continue to visit our nature reserves if they are the nearest and most convenient local place for exercise. Please ensure you maintain social distancing as per the government guidelines to keep yourself and others safe, and protect the wildlife you have come to enjoy.
Where a reserve or car park remains closed, we have made this decision based on factors such as the safety of our visitors, potential for overcrowding in the car park, staff availability to open and close the car park, and any vulnerable wildlife at that reserve which could be impacted by an increase in visitor numbers.
If you can, please travel to our reserves on foot or by bike, practice social distancing and be respectful of the wildlife on site.
When visiting our nature reserves, please follow these guidelines.
- Park considerately
Use designated car parks. If these are full, please visit at another time. Please do not park on verges or in residential areas nearby – this is both inconsiderate and dangerous.
- Stick to paths
Paths are there to keep people and wildlife safe - please stick to them. This applies to both people and dogs.
- Please keep your dog under close control (preferably on a lead) and pick up dog mess
Dogs that roam off the lead risk disturbing or injuring wildlife and livestock.
Leaving dog mess can cause problems for wildlife, and is unpleasant and potentially dangerous to other visitors as well as BBOWT staff and volunteers. Where bins are provided, please use them. Otherwise, take it home with you.
- Raise awareness and report bad behaviour
Help spread the word about the importance of our nature reserves and how everyone can help our iconic species by following these clear guidelines. If you do see evidence of wildlife crime, then please do report this to your local wildlife crime officer using the police 101 number.
- Take your litter home with you
Dropping litter is illegal. It is unsightly and can be a hazard to people and wildlife. Please take all litter home with you.
- Absolutely no fires or BBQs
There is a high risk of fire spreading out of control. This puts the lives of people and animals at risk, devastates rare habitats, and puts unnecessary pressure on the emergency services.
Please do not start fires of any sort at any of our nature reserves.
- College Lake Visitor Centre - CLOSED until further notice.
Nature Discovery Centre – CLOSED until further notice.
- Warburg Visitor Centre – the visitor centre and toilets are closed until further notice but the reserve and car park are open.
Staying safe when you visit
When you visit, please ensure you:
- Are aware that we may not have staff on site to assist you.
- Stay on the waymarked paths. Straying from the paths is a threat to wildlife, can cause damage to emerging plants and increases your risk of getting ticks or Lyme Disease. This applies to both people and dogs.
- All bird hides are closed until further notice.
- Avoid touching infrastructure such as gates, benches and railings.
- Stay safe and plan well - be aware that current capacity means that we may be unable to carry out site maintenance to keep paths clear. The NHS is under a great deal of pressure and may not be able to respond to you in an emergency situation so please do not take any risks.
For more information, please see Defra's guidance on access to green spaces.
Events and school visits
Following the announcement on 4 January 2021 of a new lockdown period, all on site events and school visits have been cancelled until further notice. If you are booked onto one of these, we will get in touch with you directly.
We are sorry for the inconvenience. We are continually reviewing the guidance and will keep this page up to date.
If you have a meeting with a member or group of BBOWT staff, please get in touch with the organiser directly. We will endeavour to arrange a virtual meeting where possible.
Volunteers carrying out essential (such as looking after our livestock) or time critical work will continue to do so where they are able to safely. We will be in touch with these volunteers or work party leaders on an individual basis.
How you can help
A number of our supporters are asking what impact Covid-19 is having on our work and whether they can help.
We are doing everything we can to carry on our work protecting local wildlife. Practical conservation work will be challenging over the coming months - to comply with government guidelines, we are only carrying out essential and time-critical work on our nature reserves. Lots of planned conservation and monitoring work has simply had to be put on hold. Beyond our nature reserves, we are still working hard to get better deal for nature in the HS2 and Ox-Cam Expressway projects, and carrying on our advocacy work to secure proper protection for the natural world in the new Environment and Agriculture Bills. A connection with the natural world is more important than ever in times like these – our teams will be doing everything they can to find creative ways to help you stay in touch with nature.
We rely on the generosity our members and are so grateful for their continued support - but at the moment we have fewer opportunities to find to supporters to join us. Income for our visitor centres and other sources has completely stopped.
If you would like to make a donation to help us carry on our vital work during this difficult time, we would be incredibly grateful. You can do so here.
We look forward to welcoming everyone back to our nature reserves as soon as we can.