Loddon Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Parking informationPark in Twyford car park 250m from nature reserve; take High Street west from town centre for 200m to nature reserve entrance at the rear of the Waggon and Horses pub
Flat; partly flooded in winter with muddy, short slopes; gate, boardwalk
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitDecember to August
About the reserve
Shallows and islands
This large, flooded gravel pit has several islands and a ragged, scrubby fringe that skirts around the shallows. This creates ideal conditions for wintering birds such as gadwall, smew, tufted duck, pochard, cormorant and snipe. The shallows of the lake are perfect feeding areas for wetland birds, while its islands provide quiet spots where common terns and oystercatchers can breed safely away from predators such as foxes. During the winter months, the handsome male smew attracts many birdwatchers. The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust looks after this community nature reserve with the help of local volunteers, who enjoy this delightful retreat in the heart of Twyford.
The scrubby perimeter of the lake is home to blackcaps, whitethroats and other songbirds. Look out also for nesting wetland birds such as great crested grebe, moorhen and coot. These birds nest among the reeds and other aquatic plants where overhanging branches of willow trail into the shallows. Herons may be seen like statues waiting to spear a fish. In early spring, you might be lucky enough to spot the elaborate courtship 'mirror dance' of the great crested grebe in which the male and female swim beak to beak and rise out of the water whilst shaking their heads.
Bats and insects
The plant life around the lake attracts a range of butterflies, dragonflies and other aquatic insects. On summer evenings, bats will take advantage of the rich pickings as they hunt over the lake.