Dinton Pastures Country Park was opened to the public in 1979 after 14 years of gravel extraction on the site, which was previously farmland. Wokingham District Council Countryside Service manages the site with the aim of balancing wildlife needs with public amenity access to the park. The park is over 335 acres, including large lakes of which there are seven. Two rivers flow through the site (the Loddon and the Emm Brook) and there are three public bird hides. Habitats include small areas of mature and young woodland, small and large water bodies, marsh and water meadows, so there is plenty to explore. Much of the dead and felled wood is left for wildlife, with a few piles of chippings that can be quite productive.
The emphasis of the day will be on exploring the site, identifying the key features, and discussing habitat requirements of the species found. After an initial introductory talk in the BENHS (P-C) building we will spend most of the day in selected habitats (through lunch if preferred, so it is recommended that you bring your own – there is a good cafe on site but it is often crowded at the weekends and getting food and drink can take ages). We will reconvene at the P-C building at around 3 pm for discussion and specimen identifications with plenty of microscopes available.
This is a joint meeting of the BENHS Saproxylic Group, which aims to bring together members with an interest in the natural history of deadwood invertebrates, and the BENHS Berkshire Invertebrate Group that represents invertebrate interest and recording in the county. Leaders on the day are Jon Cole and Keith Alexander.
Suitable for ages over 11
Registration: Places on this event are limited; please register with Jon Cole by e-mail at email@example.com. Acceptances will be on a first come first served basis.
Location: The Pelham-Clinton Building, BENHS HQ (on the left as you enter the main car park, look for the BENHS logo on the wall) at Dinton Pastures Country Park, Davis Street, Hurst, near Wokingham, RG10 0TH (SU784718).
Please note: The event is free but parking at Dinton is £6 for the day (£1.50/hr up to 4 hours). However, a Railway station on the Reading/Waterloo line is conveniently located in Winnersh just 10-15 minutes’ walk from the park. Turn left out of the station and keep going – the park entrance is on the left after crossing over the motorway.