26th April 2011
The Blackwater Valley

Robin Colin Wilson, former Chairman of the Berkshire Ornithological Club and Editor of their Bird Reports for the last 6 years, is also part of the Berkshire Bird Atlas Group that is nearing the end of a four year fieldwork project from which a book will follow. Colin is also a Trustee of the Blackwater Valley Trust. He has traveled all over the world studying and photographing birds and we are honoured to have him as our guest speaker on ‘The Blackwater Valley and its Birds’.

The Blackwater Valley runs for approximately 30 km, from the source at Rowhill Nature Reserve near Aldershot in the south, northwards to Swallowfield where the river joins the River Whitewater and then the Loddon. The Loddon eventually flows into the River Thames near Reading.

Robin Despite being surrounded by urban development the Valley provides an important green corridor for local residents, as well as the Blackwater Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a small part of the Basingstoke Canal SSSI, three nature reserves within the Valley catchment and many other areas which have been recognised for their ecological importance. The local planning authorities covering the Valley have designated 31 other areas as ‘Wildlife Sites’.

The Blackwater Valley is maintained as an open space along the borders of the English counties of Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey. Work in the Blackwater Valley is co-ordinated by the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership on behalf of the local authorities that border the Valley. Headquarters is at Ash Lock Cottage in Aldershot.

The Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership aims to:

  • Maintain the Valley as an open gap with enhanced landscape
  • Wildlife conservation
  • Improved quality of the River Blackwater
  • Recreation and access as the major use of the Valley
  • Co-ordination of recreation and conservation initiatives
  • Use of the Valley for sustainable transport links
The Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership has developed a number of guides that provide useful information for visitors out and about in the valley.

Valley Circular Walks
Blackwater Valley Paths
Blackwater Valley Dragonflies
Blackwater Valley Butterfies