Otterhead Lakes Circular Walk

Nov 25, 2022 | Easy, Featured Articles, Moderate, Walks


Starts/Finishes: Otterhead Lakes Parking Area, TA3 7EF. (GR: ST22514)

Time: 1 – 1.5 hours

Distance: 1.2 miles

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Terrain: Woodland gravel-packed paths, muddy riverside paths

Parking: Free but limited

Otterhead Lakes Circular Walk

Nov 25, 2022 | Easy, Featured Articles, Moderate, Walks

Out on the eastern edge of the Devon border lives a beautiful wet woodland nature reserve full of intrigue. 

Based around two lakes on the site of a former Victorian estate, this tranquil site now serving as an area of water catchment offers the chance to explore a variety of diverse habitats. Nesting birds, dormice, bats and badgers call the wet and dry woodland areas home, while the streams and lakes are frequently visited by kingfishers and otters.

(1) The route starts from the car park (where a handy map is available on a sign board) and heads downhill on a hard-packed gravel road. After just a few hundred yards you will reach the House Lake. 

(2) Take the path on the left before going over the bridge, down some steps, and alongside the water course. You’ll pass some small cascading waterfalls before you enter into the woodland. 

The remains of dams and sluices can still be seen as you make your way along this path between the two lakes. From approximately 1890, the Otterhead Estate saw the creation of at least seven lakes which were formed by the impounding of the river. Today, just the two largest lakes – the House Lake and Royston Lake – continue holding water.

(3) After a short while, you will cross a footbridge and take a short but steep climb into a drier area of woodland supporting ash, English oak and beech trees.  (4) This is a great spot to view Royston Lake from above and look out towards the boathouse. 

(5) Follow the path to the right and continue all the way back to the House Lake.

As you head back to the start point, take note of the walled gardens to your right, developed in the late 19th century to grow peaches, apricots, figs and even pineapples. Although both gardens are currently closed, funding is being sought out to restore the walls and open the gardens up to the public.

See more like this

Burrator Reservoir Accessible Walk

This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum

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