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Swanwick Lakes

An old clay workings reclaimed by nature and now managed for wildlife and education

This nature reserve holds scenic lakes, woods and grassland, created by nature from abandoned clay workings. Woodland has grown up on spoil heaps and wildflowers abound in original and planted meadows. 

There are over 2 miles of paths around the lakes and woods with over 1 mile of surfaced marked trails. It provides a valuable space for people to relax and learn about wildlife. Read the Swanwick Lakes leaflet for trails around the reserve and highlights.

The paths around the back of the lakes are now closed for the winter - please follow signage on site for routes around the reserve.

We manage our nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife and we would like to thank all of our visitors that take care when walking on our nature reserves. We're working hard to engage with the dog walking community, in particular those that visit our nature reserves with their dog. The Trust’s "Dogs on Reserves" project has produced a leaflet that explains how to act responsibly on our nature reserves, along with some general guidance for dog walking visitors and advice about walking amongst cattle.

We currently have Education and Reserve Warden volunteer opportunities - click here for details.


Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve is part of a partnership project between NATS and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Getting to Swanwick Lakes

The reserve is located just off Swanwick Lane in Swanwick, about 2 miles from Bursledon and 7 miles from Fareham.

Car: Exit the M27 at junction 8 or 9. From junction 8 follow signs to A3024 Southampton and Hamble and then Park Gate A27. At the traffic lights by ‘The Navigator' pub turn left onto Swanwick Lane. Continue over the motorway then turn left onto Sopwith Way. Turn right at the mini roundabout by the security gates. From junction 9 Follow the signs for Southampton A27 until you reach Park Gate. Take the road sign posted Botley. At the Elm Tree pub turn left onto Swanwick Lane. After about a mile, turn right onto Sopwith Way. Turn right at the mini roundabout by the security gates.

Public transport: The reserve is about 30 minutes walk from Swanwick station. From the station: Turn right at the end of the access road then continue to the Elm Tree Pub where you turn left onto Swanwick Lane then continue as above. The First bus company run a number of services stopping at either end of Swanwick Lane

Nearby nature reserves

Hythe Spartina Marsh
5 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust
Hoe Road Memorial Meadow
6 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust
Pewit Island
7 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

Off Sopwith Way, Swanwick Lane, SO31 7AY
Please see 'Getting to Swanwick Lakes'
Map reference
SU 507 099
Great for...
a family day out
historical interest
spring flowers
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Public transport
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Opening Times
Open access to majority of site; the Study/Education Centre is open for schools and organised groups but closed when not in use. Please note toilets are also closed when Study Centre is closed
Disabled toilet
Baby changing
36.00 hectares
Contact the Trust for disabled access information
Walking information
There are a network of surfaced paths and 3 waymarked trails of varying lengths,informal unsurfaced paths to explore through the woods, round the lakes and over the hill, frequent benches and fantastic viewpoints. If you are planning a visit with a walking club or any other organised group, please contact us before hand.
Parking in front of Study Centre
Dogs allowed
Reserve manager
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01489 570240