Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve

Heron at Fishlake © Roger Betteridge

Heron at Fishlake © Roger Betteridge

Fishlake Meadows is an incredible wetland nature reserve in the southern Test Valley, just outside Romsey. Known for its beautiful and characteristic wildlife, it is home to more than 170 species of bird including osprey, bittern, cuckoo and starling.


Cupernham Lane
SO51 7AB

OS Map Reference

SU 357 221
A static map of Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve

Know before you go

59 hectares

Entry fee

Donations welcome

Parking information

Visitor car park is open 8am-6pm and is located at the end of the first left turning after entering Oxlease Meadows. Alternatively park in Romsey Town.


Disabled access is limited. Paths are wide however, flooding does occur during heavy rain spells. Please contact the Trust for more information.

Visitor car park is open 8am-6pm and is located at the end of the first left turning after entering Oxlease Meadows. Car park closures are only in place when site management is needed. Alternatively park in Romsey Town, please don't park in surrounding residential streets.


Under effective control

Please keep dogs under effective control and walk your dog only on the designated rights of way. To avoid damage to the canal bank and ditch sides please allow your dog to only enter the water at the reinforced stepped access points.

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times.
Car park open 8am-6pm
If you are visiting when the car park is closed, please be respectful of our neighbours and park in one of the car parks in town. You can access Fishlake Meadows along the canal footpath from Romsey town.

Best time to visit

Visit in winter to see wildfowl, visiting marsh harriers and majestic great white egrets. Spring brings reed and sedge warblers as well as a great variety of migrant birds. In summer you’ll see dragonflies, fen vegetation and marsh orchids.

About the reserve

Fishlake Meadows boasts a mix of floodplain habitats rarely seen in our chalk river valleys. It is a rare example of how working with the planning system can provide an opportunity to protect an important wildlife site. Fishlake Meadows is managed in partnership with Test Valley Borough Council.

The reserve is a mix of open water, reedbed, fen and wet meadow that is criss-crossed by channels and ditches. In the summer, as the rest of the countryside dries in the heat, Fishlake Meadows remains luscious and green.

Catch sight of playful otters or the flash of blue from a passing kingfisher and count up to 24 species of dragonflies and damselflies.

During winter enjoy seeing marsh harrier and great white egret among a mass of birdlife. In late spring and early summer, warblers and cuckoo are in full song.

Enjoy an impressive variety of plants, including hemp agrimony, that are popular with butterflies like peacock and red admiral. Watch bees and a wide range of butterflies as they are drawn to purple loosestrife.

Follow surfaced paths to a viewing screens in the centre of the reserve to observe the wildlife on the water. 

Seasonal Highlights:

  • In the spring, hear reed and sedge warbler along with other migrant birds.
  •  Over summer, marsh orchid can be seen in the wet meadows, along with intricate patterns of fen vegetation.
  • In autumn, osprey are known  to stop over, sometimes  for several weeks, on their  way to wintering grounds in West Africa.

Contact us

Jo Iddenden
Contact number: 07825213392

Location map