Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve

Please note access to Testwood Lakes from Mill Lane is temporarily closed. Hampshire County Council are replacing the footbridge over the River Blackwater and there is no public access until further notice. It will be closed for at least 4 weeks. Please check the HCC Rights of Way website for further updates on footpath closures. Sorry for any inconvenience.


A beautiful nature reserve to visit with the family.


Brunel Road, Calmore
SO40 3YD

OS Map Reference

SU 347 155
A static map of Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve

Know before you go

55 hectares

Entry fee

Donations welcome

Parking information

The 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 animals

Cattle grazing from April to December

Walking trails

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.


Under effective control
There are some parts of the reserve where dogs are not permitted.


Bird hides

When to visit

Opening times

Testwood 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 visit

Visit 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

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, oystercatchers 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.

Please note: 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.

Toilets only available when the Education Centre is open. No kayaking or boating permitted. Fishing is permitted on Little Testwood Lake only with a permit from the Army surplus shop, 43 Rumbridge St, Totton, SO40 9DR

Download the trail guide

Contact us

Clare and Kevin
Contact number: 02380 424206

Environmental designation

Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI)

Location map