Rural Reading: Hosehill Lake’s a place of otter joyBy Adrian Lawson
April 29, 2011
It's very rare for a place to be really good to visit if it is not well managed. Someone has to make sure it’s attractive to wildlife as well as to people.
It’s only small, but Hosehill Lake near Theale is one such place. Based around a gravel pit, the site is managed by people with a depth of knowledge and the will to put it into practice.
There are shingle banks for wading birds, rafts for nesting gulls and terns, coppice woodland and grazed meadow for wildflowers, benches with views, reed beds full of warblers and a bank for sand martins.
Cowslips flowered in the meadows for my most recent trip. Stitchwort bloomed under the hedgerows, oaks were in leaf, and there were birds everywhere: Ducks, including the rare pintail; lapwings, redshanks, sedge warblers, a little grebe, gulls and geese.
As dusk fell and the air chilled I headed back to the car. The lake was still reflecting the sky, so I stopped for one last look, and there was a very familiar face in the water – an otter sat there looking at me looking at him. For 10 minutes I watched him diving and frolicking until it grew too dark to see.
It was amazing – the best otter sighting I’ve ever had – and reflects well on the care bestowed on this little lake.