Guidance for members
Members intending to join an outing are requested to contact the leader in advance so that lifts can be arranged where possible and members can be contacted in the event of cancellation. The leader will provide advice about the arrangements for the visit. Please ensure that you are aware of these before travelling.
Please be prepared to share fuel & parking costs.
Wednesday 31st January (Extended morning) London Wetland Centre, Barnes. Leader: Jonathan Hannam 0774 502 2695
As this is a mid-week trip, we’ll meet at 10am to avoid the morning rush. Meet either by the Sir Peter Scott statue near the entrance or in the Observatory. WWT members, remember to bring your membership cards. The cost of entrance for adult non-members is £17.00 (£15.40 without gift aid), reduced to £15.30 (£13.90 without gift aid) for those over 65 years old.
This will be a relaxed walk, with plenty of stops. We’ll start in the Observatory and then to walk along the South Route before returning to the Visitor Centre for a spot of lunch. This can either be bought in their café or you can bring along your own picnic. We’ll then walk along the West Route, with the aim of finishing the trip around 2pm. There are good paths around the site with a number of hides providing good views of the lakes and scrapes. At this time of year, there will be a mixture of winter wildfowl still hanging around and migrants returning early, as well as the residents. If we’re lucky, the Bitterns will still be on site (and in view) and Water Rail are always a possibility.
Sunday 4th February Blashford Lakes and Blackwater Arboretum, Leader: Peter Knox firstname.lastname@example.org
Try to arrive by 0930, at centre on the right of the Ellingham Drove. BH24 3PJ
This is an early start as Blashford Lakes is a good distance from Surbiton and the days are still short at this time of year. Blashford is normally an excellent site for viewing winter finches such as Redpoll, Siskin and Brambling. It is also an excellent place to see ducks and water birds such as Goldeneye and Goosander. We round the day off with a visit to Blackwater Arboretum to see Hawfinches going to roost. Do not forget to bring lunch and snacks.
Sunday 18th February Rainham Marshes RSPB, Leader: Rebecca Dunne (07879 645971)
Please advise Rebecca if you intend to come. Rebecca can give lifts to 3 people.
A peaceful paradise for wetland birds on the outskirts of the capital, where you can spot waders, wildfowl and raptors. Rainham Marshes is a remnant of the medieval marshes which once dominated this area of the Thames. It escaped redevelopment because of its former military use. Flocks of wildfowl should still be here for the winter. Species might include Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Bearded Tit, Meadow Pipit, Rock Pipit, Water Pipit, Linnet, Stonechat, Fieldfare, Redwing, Lapwing, Shoveler, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Curlew, Snipe, Redshank, Avocet, Black-tailed Godwit and Barn Owl. So, fingers crossed!
A full circular walk around the reserve has reopened. We will aim to stop for lunch at the Butts Hide overlooking Target Pools and Butts Scrape. The visit will probably include a walk along the Thames path to Aveley Bay.
Rainham has a good visitor centre with a shop and toilets open 9.30-4pm Café open 10-3.30pm The centre has panoramic views over the reserve and the Thames. It would be a good place to spend time if you don’t want to walk too far i.e. do the whole circular route.
Meet: 9:30am RSPB Rainham Marshes RSPB car park, New Tank Hill Road, Purfleet, Essex, RM19 1SZ Entry and car parking is free for RSPB members. Remember to bring your membership card. Entry for non-members is £6 + £1 parking charge.
Train: Rainham Marshes is a 20-minute walk from Purfleet Station which is on the C2C line from Fenchurch Street. Turn right out of the station and then join the riverside wall path at the Royal Pub and follow the brown pedestrian signs. Cross the Mardyke Bridge to the Visitor Centre
Wednesday 28th February Warnham Nature Reserve, Leader: John Barkham 07803 295555
Morning car outing to Warnham Nature Reserve in Horsham, West Sussex.
This small local nature reserve has easy access paths overlooking a central lake. The reserve is particularly good for bird photography with several dedicated photographic hides and viewing screens, one being just a hundred meters from the entrance. Bird feeders attract garden and woodland birds including Marsh Tit, Nuthatch and hopefully wintering Brambling. The lake holds gulls, grebes and a heronry. Water Rail are often seen from a new viewing screen and there are 2 resident pairs of Kingfishers. Broadwalks lead to surrounding wet meadows and woodland.
The Reserve has 5 hides, a Tea Room with toilets at the entrance and the newly built ‘Discovery Hub’.
Meet at 10.00am in the reserve car park, Wareham Road, Horsham, RH12 2RA. The reserve is a 20 minute walk from Horsham Railway Station.
Entry £3.50: cards only (no cash). Open 10.00am to 3.00pm.
Sunday 3rd March, Acres Down & Mark Ash Wood. Leader: TBA
All day car outing to Acres Down, probably the best site in the New Forest for watching raptors. A hill-top ridge provides a good vantage point overlooking a large tract of woodland. The main target species will be Goshawk, who should be “sky dancing” at this time of year. It’s a good idea to bring some kind of camping seat. However, this is dependent on the weather: if the weather forecast is particularly poor, the outing may be cancelled or an alternative destination arranged.
Rendezvous: Acres Down Car Park at 9:30am (nearest postcode is SO43 7GE).
Directions: from the A31 driving west, turn off at Stoney Cross just after the Esso Petrol Station (signed: ‘Emery Down’). Go south 1¼ miles and turn right at crossroads with the signpost: ‘Acres Down’. Continue over the ford and pass the Acres Down Farm Tea Rooms (which are closed). The free car park is at end of the track.
The viewpoint has no benches, which is a ½ mile walk over uneven ground.
The nearest public toilets are at The Swan Inn or the New Forest National Park Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst (2 miles away). There are also motorway services on the M27 at Rownham, just north of Southampton.
After lunch, we may take a walk locally looking for Firecrest, Crossbill, Siskin, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Woodlark. Or we may relocate elsewhere in the New Forest, to be decided on the day. Bring lunch and a hot drink. If attending, please inform the Leader in advance.
Tuesday 19th March, (Midweek Walk, morning ) Unstead Wetland NR, Leader Andy Harding 07884 063589
Meet at 9am. Directions are: From Guildford head south to Shalford and from A281 turn into Trunley Heath Road and left at the Thames Water sign. There is parking for 4 cars but if we have more cars then there is some nearby parking (AH to direct). May be a good option to car share.
This is a beautifully maintained and managed small Reserve which has undergone some major habitat changes with the creation of a series of ponds, islands and boggy areas, together with further areas of farmland, scrub, two large lakes and a reed bed. An excellent site for breeding Water Rail but also good numbers of wildfowl with the chance of Garganey, Little Ringed Plover and Green Sandpiper. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker has been seen on a number of occasions in recent springs.
Please note there are no facilities or toilets on the walk.
Dependent on timings we may decide to head to Cutt Mill, Puttenham for possible late Goosander but also Mandarin and Kingfisher (12 min drive). Details to be provided on the day.
April 7th, Sunday (morning) Family Day, Bushy Park
April 14th, Sunday (all day) Needs Ore and Calshot
April 17th, Wednesday (morning) Midweek Walk: Richmond Park
April 28th, Sunday (all day) Otmoor RSPB & Farmoor Reservoir
May 1st, Wednesday (all day) Midweek Walk: Pulborough Brooks RSPB
May 9th, Thursday (morning) Midweek Walk: Beddington Farmlands
May 19th, Sunday (all day) Knepp Wildland
June 2nd, Sunday (morning) Horton Country Park
June 6th, Thursday (morning) Midweek Walk: Farnham Heath RSPB
June 14th-16th, (weekend) Friday-Sunday Hickling Broad
June 22nd, Saturday (evening) Nightjars
July 7th, Sunday (morning) Epsom Common, Butterfly walk
August 4th, Sunday (all day) Keyhaven & Normandy Marshes
September 8th, Sunday (all day) Cissbury Ring
September 15th, Sunday (all day) Dungeness RSPB
September 25th, Wednesday (morning) Midweek Walk: Bushy Pak
October 11th-13th (Fri-Sun) Residential Weekend
October 6th, Sunday (all day) Cliffe Pools RSPB
October 16th, Wednesday (morning) Midweek Walk: Barnes WWT
October 27th, Sunday (all day) Pagham Harbour
November 3rd, Sunday (morning) Kempton NR
November 13th, Wednesday (morning) Midweek Walk: R Thames & Home Park
November 24th, Sunday (all day) Farmoor & Otmoor (Starling murmuration)
December 8th, Sunday (all day) Pulborough Brooks RSPB
December 18th, Wednesday (morning) Midweek Walk: Water Meads (Mitcham)