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Berkshire, Winnersh Marsh, SU789711
Status: Other/unknown (specify in notes)
Summary: An area soon to become Public Open Space behind Blackberry Gardens, Winnersh, Wokingham, Berkshire.
An insect rich area of floodplain beside the Emm Brook (tributary of the Loddon, tributary of the Thames). Much of it is marsh - dryish in Summer. In a 100 year flood ~90% of it can be expected to be under water.
The site is bounded by mature trees on the NW and SW edges including Oak, Ash, and Field Maple with lower bushes including Blackthorn and Hawthorn along two thirds of the N edge.
The Emm Brook flows from SE to NW along the eastern and northern edges. There are dense areas of brambles and of nettles next to the Emm Brook. Himalayan balsam has invaded the banks along much of the brook.
A shallow ditch forms the SE edge of the site. Presumably this flows into the brook.
A concealed shallow ditch crosses the site from north to south, made visible by a line of rushes. This joins another shallow ditch and flows into the ditch on the SE edge. The combination of these various ditches forms a wet area characterised by an Umbellifer (Hemlock Water-Dropwort) and Branched Bur-Reed.
An area of Short Arable Edge with 50% bare soil and no plants taller than 30 cm is the first area to greet the visitor. This is the result of soil being moved here as part of the flood plain compensation activities. Characterised by toad rush, Pineapple Mayweed, another species of mayweed, and Marsh Cudweed. Scarlet Pimpernel is also found in this area.
An area of Tall Grass is next to confront the eye (at 1.6m almost literally so).
Beside this is an area of Medium Grass (80 cm) and Knapweed.
Wet Marsh is an area where approximately 10 cm of soil was removed for floodplain compensation. Even in Summer there is usually some water in most of this area. The plants are mostly Branched Bur-Reed. There is almost no open water.
A 60 cm wide line of Lotus uliginosus - Greater Bird's-Foot Trefoil follows the field-ward edge of the Wet Marsh. This broadens out somewhat at its SE end.
A small Pond lies SE of the Wet Marsh. This is dried up in Summer but expected to fill in the winter.
There is a small area of Common Fleabane. This is a good nectar plant.
An area of Water Mint is excellent for wetland hoverflies, butterflies and several species of bushcricket.
There are two main areas of Rushes. One follows the NS line of a small concealed ditch. It ranges from 60 cm to 1 m wide stretching right across the field until it merges into the umbellifer area.
The other is a broader somewhat less well defined area which is wet underfoot from Autumn onwards.
Two areas of Marsh Thistle are distinguished on the map. The first area is a dense almost impenetrable stand of Marsh Thistle with few other plants. Excellent for insects, difficult for observers.
The area designated Marsh Thistle + is less dense and has Lotus uliginosus and various other plants amongst it. Strictly it is probably just part of the first area where the Marsh Thistle is thinning out - but that was not easy to show on the map.
Medium and tall grass and various other areas can be identified (details to come later).
Reason for interest: There are large numbers of insects on the site. These include many species of wetland hoverflies and a good number of species of bush cricket.
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page last edited on Mon Sep 30th 2013 by site user 284