BBOWT’s College Lake nature reserve features in Countryfile on Sunday

  |  Published: Jul 26th 2016

Beautiful College Lake, one of the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust’s flagship nature reserves, features in this Sunday’s Summer Special Countryfile on BBC One at 7pm.

The BBC chose College Lake as the backdrop to showcase the work of artist Rachel Dein, who makes plaster tiles of flowers and leaves.

BBC Countryfile presenter Naomi Wilkinson met Rachel in College Lake’s cornfield to find out how the artist works with the beauties of nature.

The colourful field of cornfield flowers at College Lake is part of the Arable Weeds project set up by Wildlife Trust volunteers 30 years ago.

People are advised not to pick wild flowers on our nature reserves, so leading volunteers George Bray and Ken Thompson suggested to Naomi and Rachel which flowers and leaves to pick, choosing ones that would give texture and form to the final artwork.

The BBC Countryfile crew spent Wednesday 13 July at College Lake filming Rachel and Naomi as they chatted about the flowers, how to make the plaster tile and then each created a pretty tile for Rachel to finish back in her London studio.

The College Lake Arable Weeds Project was set up while the site was being used as a chalk quarry in the 1980s. Topsoil from the farmland had been scooped into a high bank to the side of the quarry, and seeds buried deep in the soil had started to flower.

Wildlife Trust volunteers soon realised they had a valuable heritage seedbank of plants that had all but disappeared from modern farms due to the use of herbicides. The Arable Weeds Project was set up to harvest seed, grow more plants and then plant them in what is now the Cornfield Flowers area.

Find out more about College Lake, late night opening with guided walks ‘til 8pm on Wednesday.

Cornflower, courtesy BBOWT.
Artist Rachel Dein with presenter Naomi Wilkinson. Photo credit Paul Simmons.
Artist Rachel Dein with presenter Naomi Wilkinson. Photo credit Paul Simmons.
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