Wednesday, August 2

Who are Keephatch Friends?

The Friends of Keephatch Local Nature Reserve is a newly formed group of concerned local residents who have come together to provide a 'pool' of enthusiastic volunteers to help maintain the area and open spaces which are designated as the ‘Keephatch Local Nature Reserve’; you may hear this Group referred to simply as 'Keephatch Friends'.

'Making a difference in the community'
Their main role is to assist the Wokingham Borough Council Countryside Service in maintaining the recreational and conservational facilities which these areas provide as part of the overall environmental amenity, for the benefit of everyone who lives here.

The principal aims of Keephatch Friends are twofold:
  1. To encourage and promote voluntary support to the WBC Countryside Service in maintaining the four compartments of land designated as Keephatch Local Nature Reserve (LNR)

  2. Through the LNR, to provide a focal point for residents to become actively interested and involved in their local environment thereby maintaining its natural ambience, providing enjoyment and recreational facilities for all visitors and discouraging opportunities for anti-social behaviour

What is a Local Nature Reserve?

Local Nature Reserves (LNR) are specifically designated areas of land owned, managed and maintained by the Wokingham Borough Council Countryside Service whose aim is to provide day-to-day management and conservation – the Countryside Service is based at Dinton Pastures Country Park and an important feature of their work is the active involvement of local communities.

The avenue of Horse-Chestnuts in Keephatch Woodland

The aim of the WBC Countryside Service is:

'To balance the conflicting demands made upon the area by conservation and recreation'

Their objectives are, through:

Biodiversity - to:

Maintain and enhance the woodland and scrub habitat
Maintain and enhance the pond habitat
Maintain and enhance the grassland habitat
Monitor and record the wildlife

Interaction - to:

Welcome visitors
Maintain access and the integrity of the site boundaries
Actively involve local communities
Regularly to evaluate success of on-going management

Keephatch Local Nature Reserve

Within Keephatch there are four specific ‘compartments’ of land which have been designated by Wokingham Borough Council as being of special environmental and conservational importance; these are known collectively as Keephatch Local Nature Reserve.

Here is a map showing the location of these - just click on the map for a closer and more detailed view.

Keephatch Local Nature Reserve

  • Compartment 1 - running along the western side of Keephatch Road
  • Compartment 2 - the area surrounding and including Willowherb Pond but excluding the playing field
  • Compartment 3 - the area surrounding and including the 'un-named' pond, by Binfield Road/Twycross Road/Dyer Road
  • Compartment 4 - Keephatch Woods
Within the areas, there is woodland with oak, birch and horse-chestnut, sycamore, Norway maple and ash and there are two open ponds with margins of reeds and vegetation; the site of a third very small former pond also exists within the woodland and there are areas of amenity mown grassland. The ponds are thought to date back to the latter part of the 19th Century.
'Bluebells in Keephatch Wood' by George Ogden

There is a considerable variety of wildlife including deer, rabbits, squirrels as well as numerous species of birds and insects. The areas contain no ‘Public Rights of Way’ although visitors are welcome but horse-riding is prohibited in the woodlands.

Work has already begun to improve the areas and to increase public awareness of their importance; access points and signage have been installed. Some vegetation in the woodland has been cleared and a programme of continuing conservation and management is now being actively pursued.

How can you help?

In conjunction with the WBC Countryside Service, residents can assist in a variety of ways including help with Working Parties or ‘Wildlife Action Days’ – tackling specific tasks such as opening up the ponds and removing rubbish, periodical ‘litter picking’ or just being ‘eyes and ears’ in helping to keep these areas ‘clean’ and minimise the damaging consequences of neglect.

If you want to help or become involved in any way, please join us and register your support or your interest by contacting Keephatch Friends. This will ensure that you receive up-to-date news by email on what is happening.

Please join us!

A big and very sincere THANK YOU to all those involved in making the Working Parties so successful - on only two days last year a total of some 40 enthusiastic folks, 'young and old', gave up some of their spare time to help with starting to clear the Willowherb Pond and the 'un-named' pond - it was good to see so many willing (and muddy!) hands! Well done!!

Click to see the Keephatch Friends Photo Album

The next Working Party will be held on Saturday 2nd May 2009

Time: 10am until 1pm

Meet venue: By the 'Gatehouse' pond

Objective: Helping the Rangers to clear the reeds and cut back willow

What to wear: Please come in old clothes and stout footwear plus gardening gloves if you have them.

Equipment: All will be provided but if you have a spade this would be helpful.


The provisional dates for future 2009 Working Parties are:

19th September 2009 - woodland work and bonfire!

14th November 2009

Please make a note in your diaries and come along to help!

Useful Contacts

Contact WBC Countryside Service - click the link below:

WBC Countryside Services

or visit:

Contact Keephatch Friends
- click the link below:

Keephatch Friends

Crime Prevention

Thames Valley Police 0845 8505505

PC Martin Sampson - Beat Officer, Norreys 0118 979 8107 (Anti-Social Behaviour Coordinator)

Thames Valley Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

Emergency Services

For Emergencies only: Dial 999 or 112

Fire & Rescue Services
Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service
Wokingham Fire Station
Denton Road
Wokingham, RG11 2DX

Telephone: 0118 978 7608

Local Hospitals with Accident & Emergency

Royal Berkshire Hospital
London Road
Reading RG1 5AN

Telephone: 0118 987 5111

Heatherwood Hospital (with 24 hr Minor Injuries only Unit)
London Road
Ascot SL5 8AA

Telephone: 01344 623333

NHS Direct: 0845 4647 (local call rate)

Local Authority

Wokingham Borough Council,
Civic Offices, Shute End,
Wokingham RG40 1BN

Telephone: (0118) 974 6000