Roving wildlife in Royal Oak Valley

On Tuesday the volunteers descended on Yateley to help the Hart Rangers; Rachel, Adam and Nick. Whilst Tony Elston set to work hay cutting the wet meadow, we cut back the paths and dug out the stream to reduce flooding over the track. With the motorscythe machine safely tucked away, we gathered up the hay and forked it onto the baby tractor trailer. Removing the hay reduces the meadow nutrients, aborting woodland succession and promoting wildflowers.

Laura and I kept the troops entertained by unearthing wildlife with toads, an army of frogs, and a couple of female smooth newts. The wet meadow and surrounding soggy woodland with fallen brash make good amphibian habitat. Also a Roesel’s bush-cricket turned up, which is always nice to see, with it’s distinctive lime green ‘U-shape’ on the pronotum behind it’s head.

Volunteers on Royal Oak Valley Task

Volunteers on Royal Oak Valley Task

Female smooth newt

Female smooth newt

Female Roesel's bush-cricket

Female Roesel’s bush-cricket

Ranger Stuart


About blackwatervalleycountryside

The Blackwater Valley is located on the borders of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire and runs for approximately 30km from the source near Aldershot, northwards to Swallowfield. At its confluence it joins the rivers Whitewater and Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents As well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.
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