Regular Work Parties with the Friends of Letcombe Brook

3rd Thursday of the month – 9.30am until 12.00pm – Carrying out practical tasks at various locations along the Letcombe Brook
1st Saturday of the month – 9.30am until 12.00pm – This work party is usually based at Willow Walk Nature Reserve, Wantage

Varied tasks are carried out to improve habitat and biodiversity value, collect litter and generally care for the brook and associated green spaces. Tools and training will be provided. Bring your own drink/snack, waterproofs and wellies are usually helpful!

Contact Mark Bradfield on letcombebrook@hotmail.com to join

Other Volunteering Opportunities

Riverfly Surveying

LBP have a team of Riverfly Partnership trained surveyors that keep an eye on invertebrate populations living in the brook at various key locations along its length. The surveying acts as an important warning system for pollution events affecting the brook. Surveyors carry out a monthly kick sample at their designated site, usually working as a pair, then submit the data to the Riverfly Partnership website. See here for more info on the Riverfly Partnership. If this type of survey work interests you, then please contact us and we will see if we can get you on a training session. Training (it’s a full day course) does not take place very often though and may involve travel to Thame or Newbury.

Water Quality Surveying

We take the opportunity to carry out extra water quality monitoring wherever possible and have taken part in the Earthwatch WaterBlitz for the last two years. This involves collecting water samples and checking nitrate and phosphate levels with simple test kits that give an immediate result. The data is then entered onto the WaterBlitz survey website. WaterBlitz usually takes place over 3 days in Spring and Autumn.

Also, we are developing an “Outfall Safari” where volunteers survey a section of the brook on a regular basis looking out for signs of pollution events and reporting any problems they spot.

Wildlife and Habitat Surveying

LBP are keen to build up a team of surveyors that are able to survey for key species such as water vole, otter and brown trout or carry out rapid assessment type habitat surveys of sections of the Letcombe Brook. Most surveys only need to be carried out annually and spring is the best time of year for many of them. Trout spawning surveys take place in the winter. Training can be provided, contact the Project Officer for further information.

Events and Education Volunteers

We are keen to expand the number of events we put on for local communities each year. These may be guided walks, wildlife events or river dipping sessions. We also go into local schools to provide curriculum linked content which includes river science and river dipping fieldwork. It’s really helpful to have another pair of hands with these events!

Volunteering with other Groups

BBOWT’s Letcombe Valley Nature Reserve- contact Michael Bailey on letcombevalley@gmail.com
The Hanneys Flood Group – contact via www.thehanneysfloodgroup.org.uk

Other Ways You Can Help!

  • Be Water-Wise – see here for further details
  • Don’t use pesticides or herbicides near water sources – they are often harmful to aquatic plants and animals and you will need permission from the Environment Agency.
  • Don’t put anything other than water down the drain – some drains empty straight into rivers and streams
  • Enjoy your local waterways and the wildlife they support – its great for your health to be out and about in nature!
  • Put your litter in the bin. Rubbish that ends up in the river can be devastating to wildlife and contribute to flood risk. Some even ends up washing out to sea where it can be ingested by marine animals.