A typical plant of chalk streams is water crowfoot. This plant has dark green leaves split into three lobes that float on the surface of the water. Between May and August the plant flowers- a white flower with a yellow centre. Water crowfoot provides cover for lots of aquatic life, including larvae of dragonflies and damselflies (right) and fish. It requires full sunlight, which is why work has been carried out along the banks of the river to reduce shading.
Although we do not currently have any water crow-foot in the urban stretch of the Lambourn, we hope that the river restoration works carried out to reduce shading and to increase flow will create perfect conditions for the plant to colonise naturally from further upstream.
Watercress is a common species in chalk rivers and can be seen in the urban stretch of the River Lambourn. It has dark green glossy leaves that can last through the winter and small white clusters of flowers through the summer.
Water-meadows that existed west of Shaw House from the 1600s were converted into watercress beds in 1900. The leaves of this plant are very tasty, but due to the risk of river flukes it is not recommended to pick these plants in the wild.
These native flowers grow along the river edge and have large bright yellow, purple veined flowers and flat sword-shaped leaves. They are very attractive to insects.
Many of the trees you see along the River Lambourn are willows- mainly crack willow. A large number of these trees were pollarded as part of the river restoration works. Pollarding is a method of tree management where branches are cut back to the trunk encouraging the growth of new shoots. Native willows support a large number of insects and when they are mature, often provide suitable places for bats to roost.
This marginal plant flowers from July onwards, with large flower heads of tiny soft pink flowers, which attract many insects
As part of The Renewal Project we will be looking after Turnpike Meadow (alongside the river, close to the Riverside Community Centre, Rosemoor Gardens, Newbury, RG14 2FG). We are hoping to turn this small grassy area into a wildflower meadow, and will be regularly cutting the grass and removing the cuttings to encourage wildflowers to grow.
We will update a list of plants found along the river and in turnpike Meadow. Please contact us if you have any species to add.