Perhaps better known to those who live locally as Withymead Nature Reserve and Little Meadow Nature Reserve – two beautiful riverside sites within walking distance of South Stoke, Goring, and Streatley.
Withymead is a hidden gem left in trust by Anne Carpmael. Anne lived at Withymead for nearly 60 years prior to her death in 2003. Withymead House was bought as a holiday retreat with her first husband, Jock Wise. As the surrounding land came up for sale, they gradually bought it to preserve the flora and fauna. Withymead Nature Reserve now covers 22 acres of land fronting the River Thames between Goring and South Stoke. Anne was a keen naturalist and provided a habitat that encouraged birds, both native and migratory.
Nearby Tara’s Piece was purchased by Anne and her second husband, Philip Carpmael, with Lord Marshall of Goring in 1982, to prevent the site being sold and developed and lost as a piece of original river terrace. The marshy ground at the bottom is carpeted with Loddon Lilies in April and May.
Little Meadow was gifted to The Anne Carpmael Charitable Trust by the Goring and Streatley Environmental Group in February 2012. It is a wildflower meadow and area of coppiced woodland that lies on the banks of the Thames south of Goring, next to Gatehampton railway bridge: some 3 acres in size.
With resident wardens, the Trust aims to promote, protect and preserve the wildlife at Withymead, Little Meadow and Tara`s Piece, providing a tranquil haven for wildlife and inspiration to visitors now and for future generations.
Since its formation, the wardens have welcomed parties of ornithologists, entomologists, environmentalists, artists groups, U3A and the WI. Children are encouraged to develop a love of wildlife through the Wildlife Club and The Forest School.
The reserve is open to the public on Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays during April and May when our wonderful Loddon Lilies are in flower. We also welcome visitors throughout the year from dawn ’til dusk by prior arrangement with the wardens.
Friends of Withymead
Entrance to the reserve is free, but the Trust benefits greatly from the generosity of the `Friends of Withymead` both volunteers and Patrons, and also on the support of visitors to the reserve, and on grants from various organisations.
The Anne Carpmael Charitable Trust has a wonderful team of very committed regular volunteers who work under the direction of the wardens. We also welcome teams from local Green Gyms and Corporate work parties, all of whom provide much needed skill and, often, heavy labour. The wardens are involved in all aspects of running the nature reserves at Withymead, Little Meadow, Tara’s Piece, and in helping advise and manage on nearby sites.
We are also indebted to our Patrons who generously support the work of the Trust through regular donations, many of whom choose to add to their donations through Gift Aid.
If you would like to visit or to volunteer, please contact the Wardens:
Telephone: 01491 872265 or 07553 112447
If you would like to support the work of the Trust through donations, please contact Jenny Hedge (Trustee) at 01491 873064.