Thursday, July 31, 2014

Rural Relaxation: Graham Atkins

Graham Atkins at Book Signing
Many of my "Rural Relaxation" walks are around College Lake, a nature reserve only a few miles from where I live. It was created out of a huge chalk pit, associated with the Pitstone Cement Works, because Graham Aktins, a lorry driver who worked for the company, persuaded the management that when the quarrying finished  the site could become a wonderful home for wild life. The Site is now managed by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), Graham having retired a few years ago.

Graham on College Lake Buggy
Recently a small sign has appeared at College Lake, under a picture of Graham, reporting he died at the end of June. This picture was taken the last time I saw him, in September last year when he was at College Lake when the Castle Hide was rededicated to George Goddard (the former quarry manager who supported Graham's work). In addition Graham signed copies of his wonderful book Creating a Nature Reserve. He was not well at the time and used one of the electric buggies to go to Castle Hide - and we must all be pleased that he was able to leave a written record of how College Lake came about, so that visitors can understand his foresight and achievement. It also provides important guidelines for anyone else planning to establish a nature reserve ona brown field site.

My review of his book says much about Graham, and the way the work that he, and his dedicated band of volunteers, made College Lake a place where I could relax  while enjoying the works of nature. Since hearing of his death I have been thinking about how I can best ensure that Graham's contribution to wild life is remembered.

Since 2009 I have been photographing College Lake as a visitor on a regular basis, and must have taken many thousands of photographs. Some have been posted on my blogs as "Rural Relaxation" and others have been posted on Geograph (see also my latest pictures on any subject)- but the majority are on still on my computer waiting to be sorted out. I have decided that in future I will end each month with a special "Rural Relaxation" post of pictures relating to College Lake, dedicated to Graham. All these pictures (and more) will be available in high resolution on Geograph.
This Month's College Lake Pictures
The New Panorama Board overlooking The Marsh
Great Mullein (AKA Golden Rod)  by path to The Barns

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