Wondrous wildlife accessible to all

The Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) was founded in 1959 and takes care of 87 nature reserves and 5 living landscapes across the three counties.

Just half an hour away from our luxury care home in Chartridge, just north of Tring, you’ll find College Lake, a former chalk quarry at Pitstone in the Aylesbury Vale – the site is one of BBOWT’s flagship reserves and boasts a wide variety of flora and fauna for all ages to enjoy, all year round.

Following a lot of hard work over several years from staff and volunteers, this thriving nature reserve now supports more than 1,000 different wildlife species. If you’re interested in birdwatching, wildflowers and getting fresh air in beautiful countryside, College Lake offers the ideal place for all three, and you can do as much or as little as you’d like.

The lake is home to an eco-friendly visitor centre with a shop and café that opened to the public in 2010 – complete with amazing views of the lake – as well as bird hides and a picnic area. There’s no entry fee, there’s plenty of parking and 90% of the paths are surfaced. And with benches dotted around, you can sit for a while and watch nature at its best. A couple of the hides are wheelchair-accessible, and you can even book out the two mobility Tramper vehicles for easier access free of charge, so it’s a great place for us to take residents for the day from our Chartridge care home.

We’re incredibly lucky to have such a great place for wildlife right on our doorstep – College Lake is a wonderful place that lets people of all ages come and explore a beautiful landscape that’s home to a variety of breeding waders. Common terns, lapwing and redshank call College Lake their home, and in the colder months, wintering wildfowl – such as wigeon and teal – head to the area from Scandinavia and beyond, using the wetlands for feeding and roosting. It’s no wonder College Lake is widely regarded as one of the best places in Buckinghamshire for water birds. If you’ve never been, it’s well worth popping over for a fun family day out.

Maybe when the warmer weather comes back next spring and summer, we’ll take our residents out on a trip to College Lake – and it would be rude not to enjoy the delicious food and drink in the café, wouldn’t it!

To find out more about our outings and events at Portobello Place care home in Chartridge, follow us on Facebook, keep checking back on our news page or get in touch with the team.