Tag: bbowt

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Hartslock Nature Reserve

A few months ago, Ockviewer told me about BBOWT Hartslock Nature Reserve near Goring. It’s one of the best places to go to see wild orchids. Not only that, it has amazing views over the River Thames. Sadly, we didn’t make it to Hartslock before the end of orchid season, but we did do a fantastic walk from Goring to  Hartslock, along the Thames and saw some lovely wildflowers anyway. Plus, we’re all set for orchid season next year, as it’s going to be at the top of my list!

We parked in the train station car park in Goring, mainly because we missed the turning for the long stay car park, but as we weren’t sure how long we were going to be, we thought it might be easier. It only cost £2.80 for the day, so is quite good value. I think the long stay car park uses Ringo and I’m pretty sure it’s got toilets too, but don’t quote me on that. We headed out of the car park and across the bridge onto the high street towards the Thames. We headed away from the lock towards the reserve. Walking along the Thames is lovely, especially in Goring as you get to see so many things that you wouldn’t normally get to see.

The Thames at Goring Homes on the Thames The Thames Path at Goring Bridge over the Thames Dogwalks on the Thames Path Abandoned house on the Thames Cows on the Thames path

It was lovely walking along the Thames, seeing the boats going by, cows cooling off and having a nosey peek at some of the fancy houses on the opposite side. Before you head into fields, you come to Little Meadow Nature Reserve, just before the railway bridge crossing the Thames. It’s a tiny reserve but there are benches to sit on and enjoy watching butterflies dancing over the wildflowers there. The walk for Hartslock continues on, going away from the Thames itself, due to riverside properties, but you get to walk past fields of horses and cows, which I always enjoy. Before long, you come to a wooded area and this is where the walk steps up a notch. First of all, you need to climb up a short hill, where you’ll see a gate and a map, showing the reserve. I thought this was it. It isn’t, but the views are brilliant so we stopped here for a bit (to catch our breath) to take in the views. We walked over the crest of the hill to the other side where we found the entrance to the reserve. We passed two locked gates. Don’t be put off by these if they’re locked when you get there. Just keep going until you get to the unlocked gate at the foot of the hill towards the reserve. Once we’d caught our breath, we headed up to the reserve.

Hartslock Reserve Scabious Wild campanula Hartslock Nature reserve The view from Hartslock

As I said before, we’d missed orchid season, but you can see where they are. They’re in a fenced off area just as you get into the reserve. By the time we’d had a look around the orchid area, it was really hot, so we decided to head back to the car and not look around the rest of the reserve and save that for next time. We headed back the way we came, as it was really, really hot and we knew that most of it was shady. However, the Wildlife Walk we were following is circular and will get you back to Goring. Had it not been so hot, we definitely would have done it. Not that I minded heading back the way we came, as it meant we could stop by the lock for lunch (I’d managed to make us some marmite sandwiches!) and we got some delicious cakes to take away from Pierreponts cafe – well worth a visit.

Poppydog at Goring

Poppy really enjoyed the walk, as there were loads of smells for her to track. She was completely unfazed walking by the cows and relished the walk up to the hill. She’s such a great walking companion. Next time we go, I’d like to do the circular walk during orchid season. Am tempted to get Poppy one of these Ezydog Rash Vests to help protect her in the sun, as we’re always very aware that she has no sun protection. Though she did enjoy a little paddle in the Thames on the way back to the car. There are some easy to access mini-beaches where she could get down and get her paws wet!

The Walk: The walk is fairly easy along the Thames path, but the walk up the reserve itself is steep. There are steps, which make it easier, so just take your time. If you’d prefer not to walk from Goring, you can park close the reserve and just walk up the hill to get to it. I think the views are worth it! We followed the instructions on the BBOWT’s Wild Walk information sheet and it got us there without a hitch.
Cost: Free
Car Park: There are 97 spaces in the train station car park so there’s plenty of room there on the weekend.
Refreshments: No but you could always have lunch at Pierreponts, just make sure you book in advance if you want a table inside.
Toilets: Not on the walk itself, but I’m sure there are some in long stay car park in Goring.

Dog Walks in Buckinghamshire – Whitecross Green Wood

Phil and I are planning to visit every BBOWT nature reserve. After a quick look through their website, we decided on Whitecross Green Wood. It boasts an abundance of butterflies in the summer months and we weren’t disappointed. They were dancing around all over, enjoying the warm summer sun.

Getting to the reserve is pretty straight forward. There’s a small cottage opposite the turning for the reserve and there are two gates that need opening. Once inside, there’s a map and a visitors book, which is well worth having a look at, as people record the different things they’ve seen so it’s a helpful guide for things to look out for. Because there are so many varieties of butterflies, the site is at risk of trampling, as people try to get close to see and take pictures of them. (I totally understand this, as my photos of the butterflies from a distance were so awful, I had to delete them!) However, this is a real problem, as it’s putting the habitat at risk so it’s important to stick to the mown path, which we did.

Poppy at Whitecross GreenWhitecross Green BBOWT reserve Whitecross Green Nature Reserve Whitecross Green ReserveBritish summer

There’s a nice circular walk around the reserve, taking in woodland, views out over the countryside and lots of great little habitats. The walk is just over 2 miles and is easy to follow as it’s signposted with little badger plaques. Poppy loved the walk as there were lots of smells for her to track. We’ll definitely be returning to Whitecross Green as I’d like to see how it changes with the seasons.

The Walk: The walk is fairly easy and straightforward, with only a slight incline in the woods.
Cost: Free
Car Park: There’s a decent sized car park at the start of the reserve, which has quite a few spaces.
Refreshments: No.
Toilets: No.

Dog Walks in Oxfordshire – Warburg Nature Reserve

It all started with a plan to try and find some early orchids. While Phil’s main focus is the birds, mine is flowers when we’re out and about. He had seen online about some early orchids at BBOWT’s Warburg Nature Reserve so a few weekends back, we headed there to see what we could see. Just outside Henley-on-Thames, Warburg is a lovely nature reserve, with a few different walks to do, depending on what you’ve got time for, two bird hides and plenty of plants and wildlife to practice your photography on.

Purple Orchid
BBOWT Warburg Purple Flower Warburg Poppydog at Warburg A Crafty Chai at WarburgWarburg Nature ReserveWarburg Bird HideBullfinchChaffinch Warburg Great Tit WarburgWarburg BirdsChaffinchFlying Chaffinch

We managed to spot an early purple orchid, thanks to the map at the visitor centre and some help via Google images. I was pretty pleased with our little find. I always imagine wild orchids to be as big as the ones we have at home, but the ones out during early spring are small so you really have to keep your eyes peeled. It’s well worth it because when you see one for yourself, it’s amazing!

We did the main circular walk, which takes less than an hour. There are open areas as well as woodland walks, which Poppy enjoyed. Then we spent quite a bit of time in the two bird hides, waiting patiently. We saw a bullfinch, a chaffinch, great tits, blue tits and many more. Between Phil and I, we managed to work out what the birds were using apps, binoculars and cameras. Thank goodness for technology, or we’d have no idea what we’d seen. It’s so hard to take pictures of birds with my camera, as they move quicker than I do.

We’ll definitely go back to Warburg Nature Reserve, though I’d like to walk there from Henley. Getting to the reserve isn’t easy, as it’s at the end of road in need of repair. The car park is also quite small so if you can walk there, it’s best to do so.

The Walk: There are a number of walks you can do around the reserve, depending on what you want to do. I would recommend making time for at least one of the bird hides, if you can.
Cost: Free
Car Park: The car park is small and free, though donations are welcome.
Refreshments: No.
Toilets: There are some in the visitor centre.

Tuesday Treat – #30DaysWild

One of the best things about having a dog is that it makes you go out and find new places to walk throughout the year. It’s through dog walking that I’ve really started to see the world around me and all the wonderful things sharing it with me. Yes, I’ve even started to get excited about seeing new birds and insects that I’ve never seen before! When was the last time you stopped and enjoyed nature? Trust me, it’s good for the soul. Taking part in BBOWT’s 30 Days Wild is a great opportunity to get out and explore the nature around you. It won’t take long before you’re appreciating the world around you. Here are some wild things I enjoyed on Sunday.

Lake Bee Grebe

You’ve got to be out there, exploring, to really get the most of what’s around us and boy there’s a lot out there. Whether it’s something as simple as watching the bees getting pollen of the lavender bush in the garden, waiting for my peonies to bloom or trying to spot a cuckoo in the tree, getting out and making a bit of time for nature does wonders.