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Southcote Globe is
supported by Reading Borough Council
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.
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.
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
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