News of Our Group, and Relevant News for Our Members

Monday 14 November 2016

News Briefing


News (and not-so-news) from our area


Wild Maidenhead logo

A new group that is aiming to make a positive difference for nature and wildlife. They intend to "celebrate, support and protect wild things and wild places" around the Maidenhead area.

Wild Maidenhead hopes to be a hub for local organisations, residents, councils, schools, farmers, faith groups, businesses and more.

Anyone who lives or works in the area can join, the group has many well-known members, including -

  • Cindy Barnes (Cookham wildlife supporters)
  • Damian Carter (Berkshire Mammal Group & Earley Environmental Group)
  • Brian Clews (Well known author of bird books)
  • Rach Cook (Eco@Oaken)
  • Richard Davenport (Maidenhead Waterways)
  • Fiona Hewer (Cookham parish councillor)
  • Jason Mills (Braywick Nature Centre)
  • Peter Newbound (BOC & Lions)
  • Jan Stannard (Maidenhead, Marlow and Cookham Swift Group)
  • Simon Werner (RBWM councillor)
  • Martin Woolner (BBOWT & Windsor and Maidenhead Conservation Volunteers)

They have already produced a report about the state of nature in the Maidenhead area "Maidenhead's Nature Matters 2016"

For more details of the group and how to join, go to


Maidenhead Waterways logo

The whole York Stream arm of the waterway is now being worked on and the first section has been completed. Work on York Stream, including the Green Lane weir, will be complete by the end of 2017.  Activities will then switch to Moor Cut to complete the ring.  The upgrade of The Cut from Green Lane, through Bray, to the Thames is not scheduled until 2021-24.


Other News

The Animal Sanctuary is no longer going to move to Bell Farm Stables, Eton Wick.  The Royal Borough has terminated the lease because The Animal Sanctuary was unable to make the buildings weatherproof and safe, within the agreed timescale. The Sanctuary cannot remain at its current site as the site is needed for the Smart Motorway M4 project. This project will also need land at M4 J8/9 that used to be used for the Littlewick Show.

The RBWM intends to replace existing street lights with LED ones by 2018, to reduce light pollution and power consumption.

Ockwells Park.  The RBWM have bought Thrift Wood Farm, 86 acres of fields and woodlands adjacent to Ockwells Park. The land will be developed with tree planting, paths and benches, for walking, relaxing and wildlife. It will be linked to the existing park and should be open next spring.

Oaken Grove Park. Work has begun on a memorial garden to commemorate Sir Nicholas Winterton.  The garden includes a pond - which should be good news for local wildlife such as hedgehogs. It also includes some of the existing wildflower areas and "conservation grass". Let's hope that the bat boxes in this area of the park also survive.

Royal Borough Local Plan The final round of consultation is from 2/12/2016 to 13/1/2017. Comments on the latest version of Royal Borough Local Plan, including 14,211 new dwellings, will be accepted between Friday, December 2, and January 13, 2017.

Heathrow 3rd Runway. Environment groups explain their objections 


BBOWT Wildlife Trust

London Wildlife Trust

Heathrow's response includes a £100 million transformation for Coln Valley Regional Park

Braywick Park remains under attack. The threat of Braywick Court School expanding into the Nature Centre has receded. However, plans for a new leisure centre in the park (to replace the Magnet) are firming up. It is now proposed to cost £29 million with 500 parking spaces. Building is to start in January 2018. Another threat is that Forest Bridge School could be moving to a site in Braywick Park. Jan Stannard of the Maidenhead, Marlow and Cookham Swift Group, was a runner-up in this year’s RBWM Bright Ideas competition with the idea of a Swift nest tower. The tower is now in Braywick Park and can accommodate 20 Swift pairs.

Across the road, south Maidenhead's other green lung looks doomed. Maidenhead golf course is to be the site of 1,500 new homes.  The 130 acre course is to be vacated within three years so that building can start in 2020. The development should include schools, health centre, road improvements and small public open spaces.

Forty Years Service. At a recent committee meeting of the RSPB East Berkshire Group, we had a visitor. Hugo Blomfield from the RSPB Brighton office. Hugo came to present Peter Gaines with the golden eagle long-service award, to mark Peter's astonishing forty years as an RSPB volunteer with our group.

Donations.  Our group has made its annual donations.  This year we gave £625 to the RSPB for lowland chalk grasslands, such as the South Downs and North Wessex Downs. This is to help restore the habitat for the stone-curlew, a species of high conservation concern. Another £675 was donated to the RSPB to help fund Engaging with Young People projects. We need to reach as many children and young people as possible and encourage them to value the natural world.