Moor Green Lakes Group

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Extension of Moor Green Lakes Reserve

Extension Manor Farm Fleet Hill

Latest information

On 29 Sept 2016 approval was given to Cemex's latest plans [Application: Var/2013/2551]. This is the best indicator of what may happen to the site, but how the reserve will turn out will only be known when restoration is complete. The following documents have been downloaded from the Wokingham Borough Council planning website for your convenience. These are large files

Older information

The Moor Green Lakes Reserve, as currently exists, is the result of sand and gravel extraction from what was originally farm land and pasture - Moor Green Farm and Grove Farm in fact. The conditions imposed when granting planning permission to carry out the extraction were that it should be restored as a Nature Reserve with controlled public access. Earlier extraction to the east and the south has left deep lakes surrounded with naturally grown trees and scrub that are now used for angling and water sports - very little restoration was done.

extension map

Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2013

Immediately to the west of the current Reserve gravel extraction has been carried out since 2000 on what was part of Manor Farm. This area will become an extension of the Moor Green Lakes Nature Reserve, providing a range of additional habitats: grassland, cultivated land, reed-beds, wet meadows and open water. Manor Farm extraction was completed in 2012 and the land will be restored using imported material (inert waste).

In 2008 permission was granted for further extraction west of Longwater Road on Fleethill Farm. The restoration of this area will result in yet further expansion of the Nature Reserve. The resulting habitats provided will include five smaller lakes with marginal growth, areas of wet woodland and protection of more than 90% of the mature trees which grow on the site.

The approximate size and timing of the development is:

restoration table

*Future dates are totally unofficial and very approximate.

Once completed the Moor Green Lakes Reserve will be almost four times the present size and stretch for 2.2 miles along the River Blackwater.

Establishment of the reed-beds, wet meadows and wet woodland depends on a flow of water through the area. This will come mainly from the Colebrook Cut which originally flowed through the area. This stream is currently diverted into the river via Colebrook Lake while extraction and restoration is carried out.

manor farm west end 2009

The extracted material is processed at the Eversley plant, just south of the river. Lorries and conveyors transfer the material from the diggings to the processing plant. In order to dig the sand and gravel from Manor Farm, which is below the natural ground water level, the area is pumped out so that machinery can operate. The extracted water has to be processed to remove the sediment and some naturally occurring impurities before it can be discharged into the river.

Extraction from the Fleethill area will be done by "wet digging". Once the top layers of material have been removed, the sand and gravel will be dug from the water that will naturally fill the excavations; this avoids the need to process the extracted water and also maintains the ground water levels required by the trees which are being retained. The extracted material will be transported to the existing Eversley processing plant by conveyor which will pass through the existing Colebrook culvert under Longwater Road and across the Manor Farm area. This means that the Manor Farm restoration cannot be completed until after the Fleethill extraction is finished, the conveyor removed and the flow of the Colebrook Cut is restored to provide the flow of water for the reed beds and wet meadow.

The restoration plans include access paths that are indicative at this stage, the exact route will be established in the final stages of restoration. While plans indicate "viewing points", there is no provision of viewing hides. It is likely that the Moor Green Lakes Group will seek grant and donation funding for these following completion of the restoration.

As part of the agreement of planning consent for Fleethill extraction, CEMEX have agreed to provide 25 years of basic maintenance for both Manor Farm and Fleethill Farm.

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