It’s good to have a local patch. The place nearby that you go to as a stand-by when you just want to spend a bit of time outside. When I’m in Oxford, the C S Lewis community nature reserve is my local patch.
The reserve is managed by BBOWT (the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust), and it’s used by lots of local folks. Some for their fresh-air or jogging fix, others for dog walking and some just as a short cut through to Shotover Country Park.
The reserve was once, long ago, C S Lewis’ back garden, and his house ‘The Kilns’ still sits in front of the reserve. Several houses have appeared on other parts of the old garden as the years have gone by, but it’s still fun to think of C S Lewis wandering on what is now the reserve as he conjured up the ideas for Narnia.
There are a couple of Victorian-era clay pits in the reserve - both now water-filled - that provide a lovely habitat for a reasonably good range of birds - on a good day you’ll see mallard, moorhen and coots and lots of small birds in the trees above the ponds. On a really good day the local heron and kingfisher will put in an appearance too.
Although I’ve lived near the reserve for close to 30 years, it’s really only over the last 7 or 8 years that I’ve been visiting regularly, and for the last 3 or 4 I’ve been involved in at least some of the fairly regular volunteer work parties that meet 5 or 6 times each year.
Here are a few of the pictures from my collection…