Southcote Globe is supported by Reading Borough Council




Kennet Meadows is one of the few remaining areas of open countryside close to the centre of Reading and is valued for recreation: walking, fishing, bird watching etc. These water meadows are part of the Kennet flood plain and are acknowledged to be a
valuable wildlife habitat, consisting of a network of ditches and streams draining the low lying fields and connecting with the Kennet and the Holy Brook. The diversity of habitat -  meadows, woodland, rivers and lakes, supports a very wide range of plants and animals. The grassland and connecting ditches contain a variety of wetland flora. Where the land has not been grazed, grass is no longer the main plant. On wetter areas there are sedges, rush and comfrey bounded by willows and alder, providing nesting sites for warblers and a food source for seed- eating birds such as goldfinches, while drier parts are colonised by bramble and hawthorn: valuable breeding sites for birds and insects.

Purple Loosestrife      Riverside

While most of the trees in the area are wetland species, there are mature woodland trees on the higher ground. Birdlife abounds - warblers, finches, thrushes, woodpeckers, wagtails and sparrowhawks. Each year,for a short period of time, the glorious song of the nightingale can be heard.
Water birds include herons, moorhens, and mallards. The quiet walker can also be rewarded with the sight of the jewelled flash of a kingfisher. In summer, terns fish the rivers, diving on their prey with pinpoint accuracy. The wet meadows adjacent to the Kennet support large flocks of canada geese and the shy water rail has been seen on the Holy Brook.


A survey by Reading Urban Wildlife Group of the aquatic fauna in the varied water habitats - from fast flowing river to canal and ditch, showed  the presence of a very wide range of invertebrates, for example: mayflies, snails, shrimps, caddisflies, waterbugs and beetles, including a number of locally and nationally rare species.
Invertebrates are a major source of food for fish and their diversity is vital for the healthy fish population which has long been enjoyed by anglers. The Holy Brook is recognised as a key spawning habitat for coarse fish, particularly barbel and chub.
Many species of butterfly, damselfly and dragonfly can be seen in the meadows, and close examination of the vegetation will reveal a fascinating array of beetles, bugs, spiders and grasshoppers.
In general, the area is an important, accessible open space providing a wealth of habitats of value to those with a general interest in wildlife and the specialist naturalist alike.                      

Copyright SouthcoteGLOBE 2008