Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Bat watching (hearing) at The Millie

On the 24th of September the friends of haymill valley an BBOWT were joined by Claire Andrews from The Bat Conservation Trust for a Bat walk through The Millie. During the walk a number of Bats were identified using listening equipment and the report can be read at our website If you would like to come along as a volunteer pleasedo contact us either here, or via the website.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Adding some Wildlife

Here is Teresa helping to get the ponds started by ensuring we have some frogspawn available!

March Work Party

Today we were lucky enough to have the Cippenham and Burnham St John Group join us and help us to dig a few new wildlife ponds. It was a lovely morning and we would like to thnk everyone for all their help!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A New Year for the Millie

On the 31s of January many of the volunteers re-convened to start work on the new year program of activities in the Millie. Work started on clearing the pathways to make them brighter and more inviting. We also spent some time clearing debris and old vehicles away from the reed beds.

It was great to see that the Millie is in such good shape after the winter and we hope that you will see many new improvements aswe work through our program of events for the year.

If you are interested in wildlife, or conservation, or just want to meet new friends, why not come along and see what the millie has to offer, we always appreciate an extra pair of hands.

Monday, August 03, 2009

August Work Party

On Sunday the 1st a group of volunteers took time to clear lots of Rubbish from the Millie Stream. You can see from this photograph just thow much rubbish was removed!.

If you would like to join us at our next workparty then please drop an email to us. You can also learn more at the millie website

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

May 3rd - Dawn Chorus Day

on Sunday the 3rd of May we will be celebrating International Dawn Chorus Day. This will be a great opportunity to come along and hear all the fantastic bird song at the time when they sing the best. Commencing around 6am and with events going on throughout the day, this is a brilliant time to come to the Millie. This event is being organised by BBOWT in conjunction with BBC 'Breathing Places' . We will start at 6am with an early morning walk to soak up the magic of te Dawn Chorus. There will also be a wildlife discovery afternoon with guided walks, refreshments, bird feeder making and other natural activities. If you have visited before then please come along and give support. If you are new to the Millie then this is a GREAT time to come along and introduce yourselves. We look forward to seeing you on the day.

More information on this event and the Millie in general can be found at our website

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

March Work Party

Our work party on the 1st of March saw the volunteers clearing and topping out the trees in the reed bads, this should allow more light through and let the beds develop through the spring. if you would like to join the volunteers then please visit our web site at or email us at

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Millie work party January 2009

Sunday January 4th and we were all out celebrating the new ear by cutting back the millie hedge on Littlebrook Avenue. It was a wonderful frosty morning and a great day to sneak off and enjoy the sites of the millie. I have added one picture here and a few more on the Millie Web at Our next workparty will be February 1st, weather permitting.

You might also be interested in our latest videos of the kingfishers and the Haymill Watermill, which can be viewed at the website or on YouTube. Search on the keyword "Haymill" to look at all our videos

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well firstly, we had a great turn out for the mulled wine event at the Burnham Christmas Fayre, thank you to everyone who came out in support and to those of you who purchased our mulled wine, we really hope you enjoyed it!

Our last work party on Sunday 7th December gave us the opportunity to clean up the verges along Whittaker Road, it was a lovely morning and the mists were rising beautifully from the stream (see the attached photo below), our next work party will be the 4th of January 2009 starting at 10am so please feel free to come along and join in.

For those of you who are local, we will be having a quick Friends of the Millie drink on Friday the 19th at the Bee starting around 7pm, we look forward to seeing some of you then.

Finally can we take this opportunity to wish you and your families a merry Christmas and a Happy new year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Come and meet us at the Burnham Christmas Fayre

Burnham Christmas Fayre and Lantern Parade takes place next Thursday, December 4th, 2008 at Burnham High Street from 5:30pm to 8:30pm.

The friends of Haymill Valley have a table booked and will be selling Hot Mulled Wine and Cakes, so please come along and meet the team, any of whom will be happy to tell you more about the Haymill Valley Nature Reserve and give you an information leaflet. You can also learn more at

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Upcoming dates for 2008 work parties

The Friends of Haymill Valley Nature Reserve generally meet at 10:00 on the first Sunday of each month, and carry out work on the reserve until about 13:00.

Work Party dates 2008

September 7th
Sorry, but this work party has been cancelled.

October 5th
Planned Tasks: Prepare ground for new hedge to be planted along the southern boundary. This will be on the other side of the ditch, not along our path.

November 2nd
Planned Tasks: Plant new hedge in ground prepared above.

December 7th
Planned Tasks: Redirect path on west side back to the original route.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Upcoming work parties and events

Thursday December 6th – Burnham Christmas Fayre, 17:00 to 21:00
The annual Burnham Christmas Fayre will take place this year on the evening of Thursday December 6th. There will be a Victorian theme this year so come along and join in wearing appropriate fancy dress. The High Street will be closed to traffic as usual and we will have a stall selling hot mulled wine and cakes. We would be pleased to hear from volunteers to help man the stall and any offers to donate the odd bottle of red wine and home-made or bought cakes, (any kind you think would sell well). Contact Iain or Teresa.

Thursday 13th December- Our Christmas Social Evening, bring a cake, sandwiches, snacks etc. This is currently planned to be in The Haymill Centre but if it is not available on that date, (plans are afoot to close it for refurbishment), we will announce an alternative venue.

Sunday 16th December - Normal Work Party PLUS, Mince Pies, Holly and Mistletoe!

Work Party on Sunday 18th November

On Sunday 18th November we cleared the sluice area at the bottom of the reserve of fallen trees, logs and rubbish. This improved the water flow, opened up a view of the area of open water upstream of the sluice and generally made the area more like a nature reserve and less like a dumping ground.

Lost treasures included the front headlight section of a motorbike, one car tyre (where are the other 3?), bits of drainpipe and a metal handle from an unknown device. To access the depths Iain dusted off his fishing waders last worn on the River Dee in Aberdeen.

All the large timber was used to extend the fencing at the edge of the path near the gate furthest down Littlebrook Avenue. When you walk past this new fence consider for a moment that even in a nature reserve, one man’s rubbish is another’s treasure! With the area completely clear of logs and twigs the need for a proper crossing became even more obvious. The BBC and the National Lottery are issuing Breathing Spaces grants again soon and we are going to apply for one to get the permanent sluice / crossing built. BBOWT have fenced off the culvert near the gate from the industrial estate on the Marescroft Road side so all is coming into place for the much desired circular walk.

Monday, November 05, 2007

October 10th Work Party pics

Taken on October 10th at a work party...

The Bannister's at work!!

Grandson: "Goodness, Grandma, what big teeth you've got!"
Grandmother: "Yes, it's a bow saw"

If anyone has any more they would like to see on the site, please email us at

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Woolley Firs Open Day!

On Sunday 20th May some of the group attended the BBOWT Open Day at Woolley Firs.

Karen, Rian, Brian and Pat spent a very warm, sunny and enjoyable afternoon telling people about our work in the Millie and hopefully gaining a few more volunteers to join our work!!!

We also spent a large part of our time helping various children, (and adults!!) to make their own badges based on a nature theme....we had everything from owls to badgers and even a fabulous picture of a red and grey squirrel halfway up a tree by Toby!!

Below are just a few of the pictures that we took on the day - the enjoyment had by all is very apparent!!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Breathing Places Lottery Grant & Britwell Carnival


Unfortunately we did not get the Breathing Places lottery grant. The reason they gave is that all projects had to be completed within 12 months. My interpretation was that the project was the purchase of the tools which would be done in a few weeks once we received the monies but their's seems to be that the tools will be used for longer than 12 months. In reality I expect that they were overwhelmed with applications and had to find any means they could to whittle them down to the ones they could afford to pay.

However, all is not lost as at the last Work Party Fran delivered a number of tools and tool bags along with the Tea Kit and we are finding out about funds held by BBOWT assigned for Haymill Valley's use.


On Saturday June 23rd the Friends of Haymill Valley will attend the Britwell and Northborough Carnival at the Britwell Parish Community Centre, Long Furlong Drive. We have a free stall and the intent is raise awareness of our reserve and our work in the Britwell area ("the other side"). The carnival starts at 13:00 and stalls will be set up on grass outside the Parish Comunity Centre from about 11:00 onwards. If you are interested in helping on the day please contact Iain Hillier on 01784 220129 (day time) or 01628 669033 evenings / weekends.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wildlife in the Millie in Spring!

Whilst working in the Millie we saw some beautiful plants and are some photots...if you have any more, plese wmail them to

Thank you to everyone who turned up to help at the last work party - what beautiful weather!!!

We put up lots of bird boxes (of various types) and bat boxes – about 13 in all.
We also dug two new ponds, fairly near to the pond dug last year (which now contains tadpoles!)

Monday, March 19, 2007


Many thanks to everyone who gave up their time to make it to the AGM - it was well attended.

Here are the minutes from our Secretary, Brian Hollins:

The Friends of
Haymill Valley
Nature Reserve

Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Thursday 15th March 2007, 7:00pm

at The Haymill Centre, Burnham Lane, Slough

Present: Andy Paton (Chairman)
Brian Hollins (Secretary)
Teresa Hillier (Treasurer)
Iain Hillier (Publicity Officer)
Fran Thompson (BBOWT Berkshire Community Wildlife Officer)
Joan Woodward
John Woodward
Karen Bintcliffe
Rian Van Spaandonk
Barry Bannister
Tony Short

1) The Minutes of the meeting of 18th January were approved subject to the correction of the date published therein of the AGM. The month was incorrectly shown as April. This should have been March. This was corrected in News Letter Number 01 which was circulated on 19th February 2007.

2) Chairman’s ReportAndy opened by saying it was sad that this was the last time Fran would be with us and thanked her on our behalf for the support she had given to The Group and wished her well for the future.He also thanked everyone for their good teamwork at the last work party.Andy felt that, following a recent visit to Wooley Firs by himself together with Theresa Vernie-Brookes, Haymill Valley looked poor in comparison with other reserves but that we had achieved much and could move forward on a positive note.Fran agreed with this and said we had done well in only one year and could only move on to better things.A meeting between Andy and Slough Borough Council has been arranged to discuss the repairs to fencing and the weir at the south end of the site. The work required on the weir is considered to be a major priority project.A small group of residents in Littlebrook Avenue were known to have approached a Councilor and requested that the gates in to the reserve should be kept locked. Andy has made our position clear on this and advised that we would not agree to this request. Andy has also spoken to The Council regarding the original Charter defining the operation of the Millie and assured us that there will be no locked gates.Andy closed by proposing a big vote of thanks to Fran for her successful work through BBOWT on our behalf during the last year. Fran replied to this by saying she has enjoyed working with us.

3) Secretary’s ReportBrian gave an update on the membership list and advised that all the people on the spreadsheet provided by Fran had been contacted by email or telephone to establish whether they are still interested. This resulted in a very positive response and the numbers now stand at 39 active or interested in becoming involved. A slightly revised spreadsheet has now been created with each person being given a status of Active, Interested or New. Active people have attended at least one work party or other organized event. Interested people have stated that they would like to attend in the future and asked to be kept informed of our activities. New People had expressed an interest at the Wildlife Homes Open Day on Sunday 18th February but had not yet taken part.Brian asked for suggestions on how to keep people informed if they did not have email, (the easiest and quickest method). The two alternative ways to distribute News Letters, Minutes etc was by hand to each address or by normal mail. Fortunately, some of the affected people live in fairly close proximity to the reserve, for example, a number are in Littlebrook Avenue, and only three have so far had to be mailed. Teresa advised that if stamps were obtained to facilitate mailings she could reimburse the money provided a receipt was obtained. Brian said that that should be satisfactory and that a record of all stamps used would be kept.Brian then outlined the current situation with regard to recording the bird population in the reserve. There was some information already provided by Karen and Iain advised that he had borrowed an extensive number of log sheets from Don Lindskog covering bird numbers sited over a period of a few years. He would pass copies to Brian to be used as a starting point for an ongoing log.Brian asked if Karen could provide a short written instruction on how to post new items on the Web log and she said this would be done. Karen asked that the minutes of the AGM be posted on the Web log and this was agreed. She advised that she would post them in this instance when she received her copy.Finally, Brian reported the successful return of some stolen property which had been dumped in the reserve. This was discovered during the Wildlife Homes day. A small briefcase and a large number of student course notes had been returned to the rightful owner. He was delighted to have his property returned and was given information on work party dates in case he wished to join us.

4) Treasurer’s ReportTeresa advised that the existing bank account has been revitalized with the new signatory’s names now in place, (as agreed at the meeting on 18th January 2007).There was a starting balance in the account of £39.34 and a donation to the Group of £250.00 by BAA, thanks to Barry, has increased this to the current amount of £289.34.Teresa advised that any expense claims against the petty cash account could only be reimbursed if accompanied by receipts. The Lottery officials require a copy of our annual accounts, which will be supplied to them to support our application for a donation under “Breathing Spaces”. Iain thanked everyone for their great effort on behalf of this application, which we hope will be successful.

5) Publicity Officer’s ReportIain said that after the successful press reports and photographs in the local papers regarding our Wildlife Homes day, the local press have asked to be kept informed of future planned events which would be publicised beforehand.Fran said that BBOWT had a fund which was used to support organized events such as Open Days, Guided Walks, Wildlife related talks etc. Suggestions as to what we might organise to publicise the reserve and increase awareness generally would be welcomed by Iain.A discussion regarding the Breathing Spaces application resulted in the agreement, in the event that our application is not successful, to approach BBOWT with a view to obtaining tools. Iain advised that we have a number of bird and bat boxes, supplied by Martin Woolner who attended the Wildlife Homes day, which could be installed at the reserve or could be sold to raise funds. This raised the issue of Working Party health and safety regarding working on ladders. Fran said she will look into this and provide BBOWT leaflets covering safe working methods and the correct use of tools.Iain then tabled the calendar of event dates for the remainder of 2007.Four amendments were made; The planned social event following the work party on Saturday 14th April will take place in The Squirrel pub at the junction of Burnham Lane and Haymill Road. The work party tasks will be the installation of the spare nestboxes.The work party planned for 11th November has been moved to 18th November as 11th is remembrance Sunday.The date for the Christmas Social should be shown as Thursday 13th December, not 14th.(The dates of all planned events so far for 2007 will be in the next newsletter.)The dates of our events for the period May to July will be included in the Wildlife Diary which is produced by BBOWT and sent out to all members.Iain has also contacted our local Round and About publishers and they are interested in including news of our activities and events. Iain is preparing a 200-word article for inclusion in the next edition.

6) Any Other BusinessFran officially finishes on 5th April and therefore Theresa Vernie-Brookes will be our BBOWT representative at the next work party. Fran will also try to be there to ensure a smooth handover.Fran promised to send Brian information and a CD of photographs relating to activities during her time with us at the Millie. Before she leaves, she will obtain for us a large thermos container to be used as a trial for tea making. If this is not successful, it will be exchanged for a gas operated burner kit.Fran advised that there is £500 in the BBOWT budget for the reserve which she can spend before the end of the current financial year. Since this is within the next few weeks, she will use it to procure a selection of useful materials and literature for us which she will bring to our next work party.Fran handed over a pack of Volunteer Registration Forms and Volunteer Emergency Contact Forms for our use together with two sets of Conservation Volunteering leaflets which provide information on many of the tasks we need to undertake at the reserve...Fran announced that there will be a BBOWT Open Day at Wooley Firs in Maidenhead on 20th May. She advised that, if we wished, we could have a small publicity stand at the event and to contact Theresa Vernie-Brookes if we wanted to do this. Iain pointed out that this was the same date that he and Caroline Harrington were booked on a first aid course, also at Wooley Firs. Fran said she would check whether this was known by BBOWT and confirm that the course was still on.(Note: Subsequent to the AGM Fran has confirmed by email that BBOWT are aware of the situation and that the First Aid course will still go ahead as planned.)It was agreed to cancel the work party planned for 20th May so that we can support the BBOWT Open Day. Also, an informal get together after the Open Day has been planned. Meet at The Noodle Bar in Maidenhead at 7:00 pm. (Details will be in next newsletter.)Fran advised that there could be BBOWT funding available for a site worker to look after children on work parties etc. We should speak to Theresa Vernie-Brookes regarding this. Theresa’s working days are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.Finally, Fran said she had made a visit to The Priory School to inform the children about the reserve and that she had had a good reception. She recommended that we follow up this contact and possibly arrange a guided tour, (or tours), for the children.

The meeting closed at 9:20 pm.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Successful Litterpick

It may have been wet, but that didn't stop several of us from going to the work party on Sunday 4th March. We managed to fill six big binliners with empty cans, bottles and crisp packets, discarded footballs and items of clothing and other rubbish that was lying around.

We also managed to take all this out of the reserve:

A big thank you to everyone who braved the rain!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Increasing and improving water levels....

BBOWT met Slough Borough Council on Tuesday 23rd January. We discussed possibilities of improving water levels within the site as the reedbed area is drying out. As part of a Council flood storage area, any work to improve the health of the reed bed would need to ensure we don't reduce the water storage capacity the site provides in the event of a flood. Council's drainage engineer had a few ideas on how this could be achieved, and would involve a stepped approach of bunds/sluices rather than simply raising the level at the southern sluice. BBOWT are to provide council with a basic plan of what we would like. They are happy to help us design and plan improving the water levels on site. All round, a very informative and useful meeting!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

18th Feb: Wildlife Homes Discovery Day

Thank you to everyone who turned up for Wildlife Homes Discovery Day on February 18th.

The day was a great succes. Many bird boxes and stag beetle homes were made and there were two guided tours through the Millie.

The current copy of the Slough Express has got a 2-page article on the day, with photos!


Wildlife Homes Discovery Day at Haymill on Sunday 18th February 12pm -3pm

An afternoon of activities to celebrate National Nest Box Week, make your own nest box and learn how to attract wildlife to your garden.

If anyone is interested in helping to organise and/or help on the day please call Fran at BBOWT (01628 829574). Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Work Party Pictures 20th January 2007

While litterpicking, we found a fox's skull!

Clearing the paths and removing dangerous branches and trees.
The repaired fence :-)
We managed to clear the paths, after the January storms had caused many trees and branches to fall down.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Chistmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

Thanks to everyone for all your hard work this year.

We now have a constitution! :-) and our application for BBC Breathing Spaces has been sent off....fingers crossed!!!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas Social

Thanks to everyone who came to the social on the 30th November. I hope everyone agrees that a good time was had by all. Photos to follow....!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday 12th November


Thank you to everyone who turned up - your hard work has really made a difference!!
Many people turned up to help and we collected a mountain of full black bin liners of rubbish, including a golf club, a broken car radio, 7 golf balls and lots and lots of cans, bottles and crisp packets!!
Pictures 1, 2 and 4: Litter picking on the boundary
Picture 3: Children keeping busy, colouring pictures of The Haymill :-)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday 29th October

Sunday 29th October 10.00 - 13.00

Thank you to everyone who turned up today!!! We cleared a path all the way through to the stream and widened the areas leading up to it. We also started cutting back the nettles and overgrowth along Littlebrook Avenue, just outside the Millie.

These were some of the group who came along today....

Tea break!!! And time for a meeting and update....

Photos to follow of what we achieved today...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

8th October mini Work party

On 8th October, 3 of us set out to block off an existing path at the Thames Water end of the site and clear a path up towards the ditch, with a view of creating a new path all the way up to the stream. We got as far as the ditch and these were some of the 'after' pictures!

Picture 1: Cleared up to the ditch!
Picture 2: The blocked off entrance and the cleared path.

Wildlife in the Millie

We would like to keep an up-to-date log of wildlife seen in and around the site. Please post the species that you saw, the date and time of day and your name!