2020 NEWS

22/07 20


Friday 17 July to Sunday 9 August is Dragonfly Week You can find out more about Dragonfly week on the British Dragonfly Society website. Dragonfly Week 2020

13/07 20


Between Friday 17 July and Sunday 9 August choose a place to spot butterflies and moths. Watch for 15 minutes. Then record which species you see. You can find out more about the Big Butterfly Count on their website. Big Butterfly Count

27/06 20


The South East Rivers Trust working with various Agencys including FOTEB propose to make improvements to the Emm Brook through Area's 4 & 5 in Woosehill You can find out more about South East Rivers Trust proposals on their website. Restoration of the Emm Brook

26/06 20


The Environment Agency has confirmed that the chemical spill has been contained on site (where the spill occurred) & has not affected the Emm Brook. As a precaution, an Environment Officer attended the Emm Brook & Dinton Pastures & found no signs of negative impact.THe Emm Brook has therfore been declared safe.

24/06 20


It was announced this afternoon by the Environment Agency that 8,000 litres of Nutriox had been discharged to the ground approx 1.5 miles upstream of the Emm Brook. The chemical has not entered the adjacent stream and it has not entered the underlying groundwater table . Nutriox is classed as a hazardous substance.The chemical is dangerous to eyes and harmful if swallowed.Advise is to rinse well with fresh water. Nutriox is used in a process which eliminates septicity , which produces dangerous and odorous hydrogen sulphide gas in sewer networks. Whilst this is being investigated please do not enter the Emm Brook or allow your dog to swim in it.

22/06 /20


This week is National Insect Week. Organised by the Royal Entomological Society, it encourages everyone to appreciate and learn more about the ‘little things that run the world’. Insects are by far the most diverse and ecologically important group of animals on land and there are over 24,000 known species in the United Kingdom alone, with hundreds of species to be found in almost every garden and green space. With so many to study they are grouped into orders, for example the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Hymenoptera (bees, ants and wasps), Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets) and Coleoptera (beetles) to name a few. Insects have a huge role to play and without them our lives would be very different: they pollinate fruit, flowers and vegetables; they are food for amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals; and they feed on lots of living and dead things themselves, breaking down waste and helping to keep the balance of nature. You can find out more about National Insect Week on their website. National Insect Week

12/06 20


Area 7A The FOTEB committee have decided to incorporate a new wildlife monitoring area to the list. It will encompass the Ashridge Stream (a tributary of the Emm Brook).With the building of the new houses in the Emmbrook area it has opened up the Ashridge Stream.It will be known as Area 7A of the Emmbrook for monitoring purposes . It will be from its emergence at Warren House Road (SU 816698) to its confluence with the Emm Brook (SU 798704) close to Toutley Bridge on Old Forest Road. Eldridge Park Area 7A incorporates Eldridge Park a 25 acre SANG.


In case anybody is wondering whats going on at Old Forest Road Meadows with Heras fencing everywhere it is part of the Flood Allevation Works for the new road. This involves the realignment of the existing footpaths and construction of flood bunds and Balancing ponds. The plan above is attached to the Heras fencing. Old Forest Road Meadows Works


NWDR I have recently been contacted by concerned residents, regarding the current tree and hedgerow removal at the junction of Old Forest Road and Toutley Road. These works have also included removal of several trees on Old Forest Road Meadows and also Emmbrook Walk.Clearance has also been undertaken around the Ashridge Stream. These areas are owned by Wokingham Borough Council. These works are in preperation for the proposed North Wokingham Distributor Road. FOTEB has been speaking with WBC to try and make this process as less invasive as possible to the wildlife of the area.NWDR Further information on the proposed route can be found by following this link NWDR . Any residents concerns should be addressed to: NWDR@balfourbeatty.com > Click here to send an email

Events 2020

21/03 20




Litterpick flyer

FOTEB will be holding a Community litter pick on Saturday 28th March between 10:30-12:30 meet at Dragonfly Bridge to the rear of Morrisons .Please wear suitable clothing including gloves. Litter pickers and bags will be provided.



The FOTEB 2020 AGM will be held on Monday 11th May 19:30-21:30 at Woosehill Community Hall ,Emmview Close,Wokingham,RG41 2TS


Elm Planting

On 03/01/2020, Friends of Emm Brook joined forces with Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association and Butterfly Conservation Upper Thames volunteers along with Duncan Fisher of Wokingham BC and Peter Cuss (Butterfly Conservation Upper Thames)to plant 20 disease resistant Elms at 4 sites, including Emmbrook Walk (Area 7) and Old Forest Road Meadows (Area 8). Thanks to all who helped. It is hoped that this habitat will help the White-letter Hairstreak (Satyrium w-album) a diminutive dark butterfly with a white W on its underside. It has declined by 93% since the 1970s because Dutch elm disease has destroyed the trees on which its caterpillars feed.


Balsam Bash

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam is an invasive non-native plant that is found along many rivers and waterways in the UK. It was introduced in the 19th century before spreading rapidly into the wild and is now the dominant species along the river bank in many areas of the country. It has a very effective seed dispersal mechanism as it has “exploding” seed pods allowing each plant to spread 600 seeds up to 5 metres from the plant. These seeds can then be transported downstream and colonise new areas quickly. These plants are are a problem as they grow in very dense stands and suppress the growth of native vegetation. In winter this becomes an issue as the plant dies back and leaves the banks vulnerable to erosion, with increased silt inputs potentially degrading spawning habitats for fish. It is therefore important to manage Himalayan balsam to prevent it getting out of control along our rivers.


Dates for 2020 Bashing are to be arranged:


The date for Moth Night in 2020 has been set for 27 - 29 August . The theme for Moth Night 2020 is to be the various "Red" Underwings - Red Underwing Catocala nupta; Rosy Underwing Catocala electa; Dark Crimson Underwing Catocala sponsa and Light Crimson Underwing Catocala promissa. https://www.mothnight.info/home



A Date With Nature Monthly Saturday morning walk 1st Saturday of each month Location: Meet in the Dinton Pastures main car park in Wokingham RG10 0TH at 09:00. As the parking fee in the Dinton Pastures car park is £6 for 4 hours, the Local RSPB Group have arranged for participants to park for free in the car park of the Wheelwright Arms, which is close to the entrance to Dinton pastures but on the opposite side of the road. (Obviously, it would be appreciated if we give our custom to the pub RG10 0TR.) A three and a half hour walk around Dinton Pastures and Lavell's Lake (Area 10 of the Emm Brook) , suitable for everyone of all ages and we usually see/hear between 40 and 50 species of birds. Good cafe and toilets by the car park. Time: 9 am Price: £2 donation to the RSPB.


On the second Sunday of every month Lavell's Wetland Trust formally Friends of Lavell Lake (FOLL) run a guided bird walk around the park covering Area 10 of the Emm Brook. Routes will vary depending on the time of year and last up to three hours. Wear suitable clothing as at times paths can be very muddy. We meet at 9am in the car park on Sandford Lane (opposite the Dinton Activity Centre entrance) and ask for a donation of £1 with no charge for children. For more information visit the FOLL website . Click here

Car park charges apply.

This Month on the Emmbrook
What to look for if you are out and about in



August is the month when high summer turns to late summer. In the hedgerows the Blackberries have already started to ripen, going from green to red then finally black and delicious.


By mid-August Swifts have already left for Africa, although Swallows and House Martins linger a little bit longer, gathering in flocks before embarking on their long migration.Their short stay in Britain reminds us just how fleeting summer can be. It's harder to spot some of our shy all-year-round residents, such as the Dunnock and Wren, hidden in hedges and thickets. If you keep a bird bath well topped up with water, you'll tempt them out for early morning bathing as well as provide much-needed drinking water in dry weather. It's a good idea to raise your birdbath off the ground, and place it in the open, giving birds a clear view of danger.

Where do all the garden birds go in August?

During spring, the birds certainly put on a good show. At first we enjoy the cacophony of bird song surrounding us during the breeding season. Then we can spend time watching busy parents flying back and forth to their hungry chicks from dawn ‘til dusk. Finally, there’s the joy of seeing fluffy little fledglings taking their first flight into the world. By the summer we have got used to regularly seeing birds on our feeders and in hedgerows and then they suddenly disappear! Have they migrated? Have they all been eaten? Has a disease wiped them all out? No, nothing quite so dramatic has happened. The birds are still around, they’re just hiding whilst they spruce themselves up ready for winter. Feathers aren’t indestructible. They get damaged, discoloured and weakened during a bird’s busy year. So after a while worn out feathers need to be replaced. This is a natural process called moulting. August is prime time for bird moulting. Replacing all your feathers is an extremely energy draining experience so birds save it for when they are less stressed – after breeding and before migration. August is also very warm, so the birds don’t get too cold and there is still plenty of protein-rich food about. The feathers don’t all fall out at once. This would leave birds unable to fly and very, very cold! Instead, each feather is gradually replaced one by one. During the moult, birds have less energy and it’s much harder for them to fly. This makes them very vulnerable to predators, so they spend most of their time hidden in vegetation trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. Most garden birds take about 6 to 8 weeks to completely moult and then they are out and about again, fattening themselves up for winter.


Hot days also bring the restful sound of Grasshoppers calling ('stridulating') from the long grass, advertising their territories. They are difficult to spot due to their green or brown colour, but soon hop to reveal themselves if disturbed, only to disappear again. Along the Emm brook the species most likely to be spotted are the Common Green, Common Field and the Meadow Grasshopper.


: Gatekeeper

Butterflies on the wing this month include the Meadow Brown, Small Skipper butterflies and Large Whites. Gatekeepers are particularly attractive orange and brown butterflies and can usually be found near hedgerows.

Other Wildlife

Early in the month Grey Squirrels are impatient and insist on cracking open the pale green Hazel nuts, even though there is little reward inside. They can be heard chattering and squealing at one another. Aggressive confrontations can lead to tree top chases.

Plants & Trees

The grasslands adjacent to the Forest Road contain Ragwort and Creeping Thistle. at this time of year . Ragwort is poisonous to livestock but supports approx 30 species of insect including the Cinnabar moth (the adult is black and red) feeds on this species at its caterpillar stage. The caterpillars are black and orange to ward off predators who may view them as a tasty snack. The caterpillar stores alkaloids from the plant which means that birds do indeed find them nasty to eat.

For more information click the link August on the Emm Brook

Emmbrook Weather

Bernard Burton has been recording the weather alongside the Emm Brook since 1976. His weather station originally situated at Emmbrook Secondary School till 1996 and now at Emmbrook Junior School daily monitors the weather. For a more detailed anaylsis of the previous month's weather visit this link. Emmbrook Weather

For todays Emm Brook weather Todays Weather

For todays Emm Brook sunrise and sunset times Click here


At their meeting in November 2010 the FOTEB management committee took the decision to discontinue the printed newsletters for members. This decision was not taken lightly since there is of course a tradition of keeping members informed of events and sightings by way of regular printed newsletters. However, knowing that the majority of members have internet access and are regular visitors to our website - and having received an increasing number of representations from members expressing a wish to receive literature in an electronic format - your committee felt that the time had come to cease the time-consuming and costly production of regular printed newsletters and replace them with an online noticeboard on our website.

Click on Archive page at the top of the screen to view one of the previous News letters.

Emm Brook River levels now on line

The Environment Agency Website now has a daily update on river levels of the Emm near Tesco's in Area 2

2019 NEWS


The annual clearance and checking of the nest boxes along the Emm took place this year in January 2019. This was undertaken by Malcolm Dunmore, Charles Stickler,Mike Smith and Mike Saynor.

A full report can be found here. 2018 Bird Box Usage along the Emm


Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association was formed ten years ago in 2007 and have just launched the WDTVA’s 10th Anniversary Report. This report summarising WDVTA activities and achievements across the Borough is now available on the WDVTA website at Click here