Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Entry feeDonations welcome
Parking informationThe car parks are open every day from 8am to 5pm in the summer and from 8am to 4pm during the winter. Please note, the gates to the nature reserve and car parks have a height barrier of 1.9m, which is usually closed.
Grazing animalsCattle grazing from April to December
The site is largely flat but some slopes are present around the Testwood Lake and up to the Education Centre. There are surfaced paths all the way round.
There are Radar locks on all the gates to allow wheelchair access. If you do not have a Radar key, we have one at the Testwood Lakes Centre that you can use during your visit. An all-terrain wheelchair is available for hire. Please contact the centre ahead of your visit to ensure its availability.
Car: From the M27 junction 2, take the A326 Fawley/Totton road and take the first exit, signposted Totton (A36). At the first roundabout, turn left into Brunel Road. Coming from Southampton, travel into Totton along the A36/Commercial Road, taking the second exit at the roundabout onto the A36/Salisbury Road. At the large roundabout take the third exit on Brunel Road.
Rail: Totton station is 1½ miles from the reserve, with trains running there every hour from Southampton.
Bus: Bluestar No. 12 runs every half hour, Monday to Saturday and every hour on Sundays from Southampton calling at Testwood Crescent which is ½ mile from the reserve. Wilts & Dorset X7 runs hourly Monday to Saturday from Southampton to Testwood Crescent.
When to visit
Opening timesTestwood Lakes Centre is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm and Sundays, 1pm to 4pm (BST) in summer and 12noon to 3pm (GMT) in winter.
Best time to visitVisit in spring and look out for lapwings, oystercatchers, cuckooflowers and orange-tip butterflies. Summer brings sand martins, emperor dragonflies, black-tailed skimmers and beautiful demoiselles. Winter sees a host of wading birds.
About the reserve
** Some paths and all hides will be closed on the following dates due to ash dieback work taking place:
Wednesday 8th Jan
Friday 10th Jan
Wednesday 19th Feb
Friday 21st Feb
Wednesday 26th Feb
Please be aware that there is always the potential for blue-green algae in the water at Testwood Lakes nature reserve. Please do not swim or let your dog swim in the water. Blue-green algae can pose a serious health risk through both ingestion and inhalation.
Testwood Lakes is a wonderful nature reserve to visit with the family. The great variety of birdlife to which Testwood Lakes plays host can be viewed from two strategically placed hides, and there’s something to see all year round.
Lapwings, oyster catchers and great crested grebes feed and roost on the lakes during the spring, and summer brings beautiful clouds of dragonflies and damselflies. Emperor dragonflies, black-tailed skimmers, southern hawkers and beautiful demoiselles can be seen darting overhead – their striking colour combinations can make for some impressive aerial displays. Winter sees the arrival of migratory birds such as great white egrets, as well as teals, wigeons and shovelers.
Rolled gravel paths around the reserve make walking with pushchairs easy, and our accessible Education Centre is fully equipped with a toilet and baby changing facilities. We also have accessible bird hides. This reserve is owned by Southern Water and managed by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.