Chew Valley Lake


Chew Valley Lake

A great place to spot wildfowl including migrating birds feeding in the reed beds around the lake.


Herriots Bridge
West Harptree
BS40 6HN
A static map of Chew Valley Lake

Know before you go

75 hectares

Entry fee


Grazing animals


Walking trails

Pavements run along the main road side, paths to picnic sites.


Hides with permit only, obtainable from Bristol Water Recreation Department, Woodford Lodge. General access available from the road side and picnic areas. Pavements run along the main road side, paths to picnic sites. Contact the Trust for disabled access information


On a lead


Picnic area

When to visit

Opening times

For details of the visitor centre and cafe please visit the Bristol Water Chew Valley Lake website:

Best time to visit

April to July, October to February

About the reserve

Breeding birds include great crested and little grebe, gadwall, tufted duck, shoveler and pochard. Hobbies often feed over the area in late summer.

When the water level falls, the mud attracts waders such as dunlin, ringed plover and green sandpipers.

Summer sees large populations of dragonflies hunting over the water. These include ruddy darters and, later in the summer, migrant hawkers.

Wintering wildfowl include important numbers of shoveler, gadwall, teal and tufted duck. Goosander, great crested grebe and cormorant also occur in large amounts.

The reedbeds are a vital autumn feeding station for reed and sedge warblers prior to their migration. The winter gull roost is a spectacular sight with up to 50,000 or more, mostly of black-headed, common and Mediterranean gull.

Chew Valley Lake often attracts rare birds, including osprey, the scarcer grebes, and an American wader or duck appears most years.

There is a visitor centre and cafe run by Bristol Water at the picnic site near the dam. The Chew Valley Lake Birding website contains frequently updated news and information on its birds and wildlife, access, maps, and the definitive Chew bird list!

Contact us

Avon Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 0117 917 7270

Environmental designation

Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI)
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)