• With Kids in the Westcountry

Chard Reservoir woodland lake walk

Chard, South Somerset

Woodland circular walk

Lake ‘beaches’

Buggy friendly

Dogs welcome on leads (restricted areas apply)

Free parking

Free entry

Eco-loo (no handwashing facilities)

Chard Reservoir is a pretty area of managed woodland around a retired reservoir lake, and as a nature reserve you’ll be able to spot lots of ducks, swans and other creatures from the many little ‘beaches’ around the circular route. It’s an ideal place to take the kids for a walk with no cars and no cyclists to dodge – the track is roughly surfaced as is buggy friendly (though expect a bit of mud in wetter months), and dogs are welcome on short leads. The walk around the whole of the perimeter of the reservoir is just around 2 miles.

Along the way you’ll find lots of little beaches, the remains of an old boat house, a bird hide and a mysterious tree with a fairy door which captured our kids’ interest for a while!

There’s free parking at the Angler’s Car Park about ¾ mile down Chaffcombe Road – a lane off the A30 as you head out of Chard in the direction of Hornsbury Mill – and you’ll also find an eco-loo at the entrance to the reserve. Or, park at the end of Oaklands Avenue, off the A30 Chard to Crewkerne Road.

Cyclists are not permitted to ride through the nature reserve, though it might be useful to know that just a very short walk back up Chaffcombe Road brings you on to a section of cycle path along the old railway line – it’s flat and very much suitable for the younger cyclist, so we’re going to check that out soon! Maybe a short cycle down the cycle path and a walk around the reserve could be combined, if there’s still energy left to burn.

There aren’t any café or catering facilities on site, but take a picnic to eat on one of the benches dotted around the route, or stop in to Barleymow’s (a short drive away) – one of our favourite kid-friendly cafes in the Chard area.

Keep an eye on Chard Reservoir’s Facebook page as from time to time, rangers host hands-on activity days for children at a small cost.