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




September is a time of change as the tide turns from Summer to Autumn with the Autumnal equinox usually on the 22nd September. The hedgerows are full of ripening berries with Hawthorn haws, Rose hips, Sloes, Blackberries and Elderberries. However make sure that you pick your Blackberries before September 29th St Michaelmas Day . It was once believed that on the feast of St. Michael, the devil spat on the blackberries (or worse!) and it was therefore very unwise to pick and eat the fruit after September 29th. According to the old tale, when St. Michael cast Satan from Heaven, the devil landed on earth in a patch of brambles and he returns every year to spit on the plant that tortured him, breathing his foul breath over it and trampling it. The leaves of the trees are just starting to change to the reds and golds of Autumn and Winter as bird migrants start to appear.


Keep an eye out for Jays. These birds are more noticeable at this time of the year as they stash acorns away for the winter by burying them in the ground. Gathering Swallows & Martins herald the beginning of the great intercontinental shift as northern breeding birds head south.


Insect numbers decline massively as adults of many species die to leave the caterpillars or pupae to survive the winter; however certain insects are more noticeable at this time of year. Around the time of the harvest in August onwards the Craneflies (or Daddy-long-legs) appear in their greatest numbers. September really wouldn.t be the same without one of these clumsy charecters hanging around your porch light.


For more information click the linkSeptember 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 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


July 14th - 6th August To see how easy it is to take part in the UK wide survey click on the link. This is the largest insect citizen science project in the world. Why not download an ID chart and take part in a 15-minute count during the event, which runs from 14 July - 6 August? The results help us see how butterflies are faring across the UK . Big Butterfly Count


The 2017 AGM was held on Monday 15th May at 19:30 at Woosehill Community Hall, Emmview Close, Wokingham RG41 3DA.


Balsam Bash The Balsam Bashing programme is as follows:

20/08/17 Area2. Meet at Ashville Way, off Molly Millars Way at 09:30 to clear along the Emm between Lidl and the Barkham Road Bridge.

13/08/17 Area2. Meet at Old Forest Road layby at 09:30 to clear along the Emm between Toutley Bridge and M4 Bridge.

23/07/17 Area 5/4 between Dragonfly Bridge and Meadow Road. Meet at Dragonfly Bridge (rear of Morrisons) at 09:30.

20/07/17 Area 5/6 between Dragonfly Bridge and Brook Close. Meet at Dragonfly Bridge (rear of Morrisons) at 17:30.

16/07/17 Area 6 between Emmbrook Road and Brook Close. Meet at the Dog and Duck pub at 09:30.

09/07/17 Area 7 between Old Forest Road and Emmbrook Road. Meet at the layby on Old Forest Road at 09:30.

25/06/17 Area 3 off Molly Millars Lane meet at Ashville Way at 09:30 to clear along the Emm from Barkham Road Bridge to Finchampstead Road Bridge. 17/06/17 Area 8. Meet at the layby on Old Forest Road at 09:30 to clear along the Emm between Toutley Bridge and the M4 Bridge.

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam is classified as a Non Native Invasive Species and as such can take over large areas of river bank or damp habitat.It was introduced by the Victorians for use in ornamental gardens. As well as causing problems for native species, Himalayan balsam substantially increases the risk of riverbank erosion. It does this by stopping native bankside vegetation growing. The roots of these natives would bind the banks. With just balsam in the autumn, when it dies it leaves only bare soil that is easily eroded and washed away byany subsequent rain or flood events. It is possible to eradicate Himalayan balsam (not an option with most invasive plant species) from infested river catchments because its morphology and life cycle display a number of weaknesses that are uncharacteristic of such high profile invasive species. These include:

the plant has an annual life cycle, meaning it germinates, grows, flowers, seeds and dies in the one year;

the tall plant has a shallow root ball so easily removed by pulling;

the plant has no natural defence mechanisms, such as thorns or bristles, to make pulling difficult or hazardous;

. the majority of the seeds germinate after one year and seeds are the only propagation method of this species. The combination of Himalayan balsam attributes described above means it is possible for well organised groups to physically remove the plants from long sections of river corridor. This over a two year period will deplete the seed reserve within the catchment. This represents an enormous conservation advantage to the aquatic and riparian ecosystem that will preserve the river banks from erosive effects of winter floods.


The earth orbits the Sun in an elliptical path, which means that there is 1 point of the path when the Sun is at its closest to the Earth(Perihelion) and 1 point when it is furthest away (Aphelion). The Aphelion in Wokingham was on Monday, 3 July 2017, 21:11 BST . The distance from the Sun's center to Earth's centre was 152,092,504 km (94,505,901 miles) The Earth is closest to the Sun, or at the perihelion, about 2 weeks after the December Solstice, when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Conversely, the Earth is farthest away from the Sun, at the aphelion point, 2 weeks after the June Solstice, when the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying warm summer months.

2017 NEWS


2nd September 2017

Malcolm Dunmore, Charles Stickler and Mike Saynor checked the nest boxes along the Emm in January 2017. A high proportion of the nest boxes were used again in 2016, although many of the tit chicks in the boxes along Emmbrook Walk perished. A full report can be found here. 2016 Bird Box Usage


1st April 2017 Litter Pick

As part of Wokingham Borough Council's Annual Spring Clean there was a litter pick on Saturday 1st April 2017. Approx 16 people attended. Pickers visited the open space around Emmbrook walk and the surrounding streets. In approx 2hrs ,10 full bin bags were filled with rubbish.


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. 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.