Today we took #LeonardTheDog out for a long awaited trip to his favourite place, Dinton Pastures. Dinton Pastures Country Park was opened to the public in 1979 and was previously farmland. After 14 years of gravel extractation surrounding the original High Chimneys farm building, now the Dragonfly Café, today the Park is enjoyed by several hundred thousand visitors annually and is a haven for wildlife.
The gravel extraction created 8 lakes on the original farm site. As the water areas were created, wildlife and visitors moved in. Wintering wildfowl like wigeon, pochard and goldeneye soon found the lakes as well as familiar species like swans, coots, mallards and gulls. Nightingales found places to nest in the scrub areas and dragonfly species moved into the wetlands. The park has a significant number of the latter with 18 species present on site out of a British total of 42 species. Rarer birds started to arrive like bitterns and smew on Lavell's Lake and great crested newts have been found in the ponds. Wokingham District Council Countryside Service manage the site with the aim of balancing wildlife needs with access to the park for people. The site has been zoned to include fishing and sailing lakes as well as quieter conservation areas. The Countryside Service has recently updated the play area too which has had hugely positive reports from families across the boroughs of Reading.
We love it there no matter what the season you can always guarantee a beautiful view at every turn. Autumn is our favourite time to visit though because it is THE best place for puddle jumping. With muddy paths and puddles galore, all you need to do is put on your wellies, make sure there's a few towels in the car and get as messy as you can. It has been quite mild this November so we weren't too bothered about getting wet so we even braved it and left our puddle suits at home.... here is our journey in pictures... enjoy! (Oh and Kyd took some of these shots himself.... talented little fella isn't he!)