Nature Discovery Centre

Nature Discovery Centre

The adventure playgrounds are being improved by West Berkshire council this summer. Find out more here.

The Nature Discovery Centre is surrounded by a mosaic of different habitats with fantastic wildlife to see all year around.

Location

Nature Discovery Centre,
Muddy Lane,
Lower Way
Thatcham
Berkshire
RG19 3FU

OS Map Reference

SU506672
A static map of Nature Discovery Centre

Know before you go

Size
35 hectares

Entry fee

No

Parking information

car park

Walking trails

Colour-coded waymarked walking routes 

Access

Flat and level around the lake. 

Dogs

Guide dogs only
Dogs are welcome on the reserve, but please keep them out of the lake. We ask that you keep dogs under close control at all times. Dogs, except assistance dogs, are not permitted inside the visitor centre.

Facilities

Visitor centre
Bird hides
Toilets
Shop
Cafe/refreshments
Picnic area
Disabled toilet
Baby changing facilities
Outdoor play area

When to visit

Opening times

Centre (including shop and café)

April-October
Open 10:30am-5pm, 7 days a week including bank holidays.

November-March
Open 10:30am-4pm, Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday.

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

The Nature Discovery Centre is surrounded by a mosaic of different habitats with fantastic wildlife to see all year around. Wander along the paths beside the lake, 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. 

Birds

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.

Throughout the year, one of our volunteers surveys the species of bird found on site. Below is a list showing the trend of different species and numbers of each throughout the year. 

Nature Discovery Centre bird list

Our volunteer also leads regular walks around the reserve to help visitors learn about what they can see and hear during their visit and to learn more about each species. 

See what's on

Plants

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.

Invertebrates

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.

Thatcham Reedbeds

Visit the nearby Thatcham Reedbeds, one of the largest areas of inland reedbed in Southern England and home to some of the country's rarest reed specialists, including Desmoulin's snail.

Contact us

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT)
Contact email: info@bbowt.org.uk