Originally, when Bondig Bank was managed by the monks at Bisham Abbey, this land was an osiery – a plantation of willows. The bushes between the river and the tow path would have been kept low, so that tow ropes were not hindered. Osieries were important because willow branches were used for baskets, fish traps, fences and hurdles.
Bondig Bank was given to the River Thames Society in 1992 by Mrs Margaret Dickinson, and the Society is managing it as a small nature reserve. We are coppicing the willows to keep them compact. Some of the cut branches have been bundled together to shelter hedgehogs, mice and other small animals.
The reeds on the river bank were planted to protect the bank from erosion. They have become a habitat for small birds like reed buntings and warblers.
A new path was installed during 2009 and the plan for the area on the land side of the path is to let the plants grow and die naturally. The nettles may not be attractive to us, but they are important for butterflies and they help to protect birds that nest in the hawthorn bushes. There is a dead tree which is a haven for insects, which will attract more birds.
Conservation Update: February 2012
An autumn work party completed coppicing work during October 2011. At the same time, the new noticeboard was installed and our bottom picture shows it proudly standing in the autumn sunshine. The noticeboard will help visitors to Bondig Bank understand the site and identify the flora and fauna they may see and will also provide information about the River Thames Society and its other conservation projects.
For further information about ongoing conservation work at Bondig Bank or our other conservation projects, please contact the River Warden Co-ordinator - Dick Mayon White.