Otterhead Lakes – circular lakeside/woodland walk in the Blackdown Hills
Child-friendly walk in the Blackdown Hills
Circular lakeside and woodland walk - approx 2 miles
Postcode TA3 7EE
Not buggy friendly
Bluebells in late April/early May
Otterhead Lakes seems to be one of those places that you’d never find unless recommended by a friend (or a blog!)
Inspired by my friend’s half term adventure Instagram pics, we set off to Otterhead Lakes to try this family-friendly circular walk for ourselves.
The Otterhead Estate lies in the Blackdown Hills in between Honiton, Taunton, Chard and Ilminster, postcode Taunton TA3 7EE (map at the bottom of the page.) The estate once belonged to a grand Victorian mansion set in its own extensive grounds, formal gardens, walled garden and seven (!) lakes – but today, only the coach house and two of the lakes remain. The area is now a designated nature reserve, with a circular walk that leads you around the pretty lakes and through woodland with views across the valley.
If you visit in late April/early May, you’ll be treated to a carpet of bluebells – we were about a week too early!
The circular walk is about 2 miles in length and starts from the car park, which provides free parking (limited space.) My advice is to take a quick photo of the map on the information board in the car park so you have a reference for the route, though it was fairly easy to follow the trodden paths and find our way.
We followed the nature trail route as marked on the route map, which took us over the bridge (look out for ducks in the lake) and through a kissing gate on the left. This walk is not buggy friendly, there are numerous kissing gates and although the first part of the walk is surfaced, it soon turns into some muddy and narrow paths. It is mostly fairly level, apart from a short stretch of slope to and from the car park.
The route takes you down one side of the lower lake, alongside a managed area of forest which provided an area for a brief play, then down to the end of the lake and back around the other side. As you return to the first bridge at the start of the walk, the path comes alongside a little stream perfect for a splash in summer (or in any season if your kids are like ours.)
In terms of facilities, Otterhead Lakes is lacking – no toilets, refreshments or benches, so bring a picnic and you might want to bring a picnic rug or camp chairs too as we didn’t see anywhere dry to sit. We spotted a great place for a picnic just over the first bridge to the right – a level area of lawn opposite the lake, next to the coach house.
For further information, visit the Otterhead Estate website.