Over 270 species of birds have been recorded at Chew, and the lake is the third most important site in Britain for wintering wildfowl.
It is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). From late July to February, up to 4,000 ducks of 12 different species may be present. This includes internationally important numbers of shoveler and gadwall. Some 400 great-crested grebes gather on the lake in autumn.
Permits to enter the reservoir enclosure and to use the access road, path and bird hides are only available to members of recognized ornithological and naturalist societies. Season permits ("Memberships") and day permits ("Activities") for bird watching are available through the Fisheries' Online Booking Portal. Here you can also manage your bookings, membership plans and communication with us.
For more information on Birdwatching please feel free to call our team at Woodford Lodge, Chew Valley Lake on 01275 332 339.
Paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing are just some of things that we offer at some of the lakes.
We partnered with local ecologists, Natural England and Cheddar Watersports Club in 2016 to enable the 2017 paddle boarding trial at Cheddar Reservoir.
Paddle boarding is available to members and guests of the local community group that provides watersports at Cheddar Reservoir. The club is an evolution of Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club, and we are very much hoping that the trial will be a success!
For more information on how to get involved, visit the Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club website.
Please note: Paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing are not permitted on any other waterway currently. See our FAQs below for more information.
Enjoy the beautiful scenic walks of Bristol's lakes.
The Grebe trail is a hard-surfaced, all-weather path, suitable for pedestrians, pushchairs and wheelchairs. It covers a circuit 1.2km long, starting and finishing at the wooded Picnic Area.
The Bittern trail is accessible as an extension to the Grebe trail. Following the footbridge over Hollow Brook, the path is not surfaced and can be wet and muddy, so boots or wellies in wet weather are advisable.This trail runs along the East Shore, visits an open bird hide and returns to the footbridge, making a 1.5km circuit. The previous plastic bird hide has now been replaced with a new rustic natural version.
A New 2.7 km recreational trail was opened in spring 2022. The all-weather trail is for shared use by cyclists and walkers that links up Woodford Lodge and the picnic areas, and ends just before Bishop Sutton. The guides provide more information on the different types of wildlife you may see on your walk. Don’t forget to bring a picnic in good weather and enjoy being beside the lake.