Category Archives: wildlife

River Ock during close season

The River Ock is a stream that flows along the Vale of White Horse, mostly through fields and villages, but for the last half mile, before flowing into the River Thames, there is a shady tree lined walk between the houses of Abingdon called the Ock Valley Walk.

There was a heron near the walk today.

The close season for catching fish in rivers runs from 15th March and until 15th June and has ten days to go. This allows the fish to spawn in relative safety and protect fish stocks.

The close season does not apply to herons. This one was waiting patiently, standing still and relying on stealth, quick reactions, and excellent eyesight to catch its next meal.

The bushes and trees along the walk are at their finest in early June. The leaves are fresh and green. Birds are singing in the canopy.

Birds sound so close but, most of the time, they stay well hidden from my not-so-good eyesight.

There are places where the fish can be easily seen in the fast flowing shallows, heading upstream.

They could be feeding on what they can filter from the water. The adults might even be spawning. The heron is at a safe distance away.

Some wildlife is doing well

Cow parsley skirts the River Thames opposite the Old Anchor Inn.

Downstream from Abingdon, the riverbank is covered with flowers. Cow parsley grows just about anywhere. Then, as you walk further, a yellow flower takes over as the dominant plant.

The yellow flowers could well be self-seeded oil seed rape, although I can’t remember these particular fields having grown such a crop. They were grown two or three fields away.

There are sparrows flitting and chirping on the riverbank.

The mallard is the commonest, most widespread,  duck in Abingdon and you have a good chance of seeing mallards just about everywhere. They are most at home on or near the river, but can sometimes be seen in the strangest of places, like supermarket forecourts.

Masterplan for Radley Lakes launched in May 2021

The Radley Neighbourhood Plan, formally adopted in 2018, included a proposal that the wider Radley Lakes area (about ten times the size of Thrupp Lake) should be managed for nature conservation and quiet recreation in the future.

A masterplan for the future of the area has been launched in May 2021.

The Radley Lakes Trust, a registered charity, was established in November 2020, to take forward the implementation of the masterplan. Funding will come from developer contributions (‘CIL’) to Radley Parish Council.

The plan sets out a vision for the Lakes, focused on protecting wildlife and providing valuable green space for local people. The masterplan proposes:
• Enhancing the diverse and rich natural habitats of Radley Lakes.
• New pedestrian and cycling routes and safer parking for cars and bikes.
• New and more varied walking trails within the area, with places to sit and relax.
• Information displays and signage. These will be at the two entry hubs (at Thrupp Lake and Barton Fields) and along the walking trails.

Part of the area, Thrupp Lake, is already open to the public. The Radley Lakes Trust is having discussions with landowners about permissive paths in the wider Radley Lakes area.

To prevent visitors from disturbing important wildlife habitat there will be no public access to sensitive areas.

Councillor Cheryl Briggs, Mayor of Abingdon-on-Thames, said: ‘Time spent in the natural environment is increasingly being recognised as essential for physical and mental wellbeing. The Radley Lakes area meets this important need for the people of Radley, Abingdon and beyond. Lockdown has highlighted this, with many more people discovering and enjoying the area. We believe the masterplan will ensure that these invaluable benefits are sustained for our local communities for generations to come.’

The Radley Lakes Masterplan is available at: