A NEW pond dipping platform has been installed at Lousehill Copse, Tilehurst.
The platform has been specially fabricated in steel and installed by local contractors to replace the timber platform which was destroyed by vandals.
Work on the dipping platform started on Wednesday 12th September and is now complete.
Lousehill Copse is a small, natural woodland surrounded by housing, tucked away along Tay Road in west Reading, with mature oak and hazel woods. It is a designated Wild Life Heritage Site and in 1992 became part of West Reading Woodlands Local Nature Reserve.
The Council’s parks team has recently been working closely with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to carry out a number of improvements within Lousehill Copse. TCV has already created a clearing to open up views from the bridge to the pond, reduced the amount of reeds and cleared the pond of rubbish.
Now the dipping platform has been completed, the Council will work with TCV on a number of other improvements including:
· improving access into the copse from Tay Road;
· improving the surface of the some of the paths within the copse;
· habitat improvements.
Cllr Sarah Hacker, Reading’s Lead Member for Culture, Heritage and Recreation, said: “I’ve visited Lousehill Copse and I was taken by just how wonderfully rich in wildlife it is! It really is a hidden gem.
“Pond dipping platforms encourage visitors to learn and have fun with the wonders of the aquatic environment. These improvements are part of our commitment to education, encouraging biodiversity and conservation and we hope that this new platform will help the adults and children who use it develop a lifelong love of nature and the environment.
“I’d like to thank The Conservation Volunteer Team, all the local volunteers and the parks team for the excellent work they have done so far at the copse and I look forward to seeing the area following the other planned improvements. The conservation work so far has been very warmly received by local residents, some of whom have volunteered to assist in the tasks.”
Buffy Harris-Jones, The Conservation Volunteer’s Senior Project Officer, said: “As part of this two year project we are making the woodland more accessible to local communities by improving the infrastructure, for example, installing steps in very steep areas and installation boardwalks over very wet areas. We want everyone to visit Lousehill Copse and are sure they will fall in love with the woodland as we did!
“The Council has been very supportive in these endeavours. The new Pond Dipping Platform is fantastic, we are really excited to use it to run wildlife activities and to teach local people all about the wildlife that resides in LousehiIll Copse. Please do keen an eye out for future projects on our Facebook page and website.”
The improvement work is part of an ongoing programme which began in 2013, funded with contributions from development via Section 106 agreements. The copse has benefited from £35,857 funding, of which £17,400 has been invested to date towards the maintenance of and management of the copse, as well as the provision of public access improvements.
TCV are a community volunteering charity that carry out a variety of tasks across the UK such as managing woodlands, hedge laying, planting trees and improving public access. Whilst their activities vary, they have a consistent approach of “bringing people and places together to create happy, healthy and connected communities for everyone”. www.tcv.org.uk/southeast/volunteer-south-east/lousehill-copse