Over 270 species of birds have been recorded at Chew, and the lake is the third most important site in Britain for wintering wildfowl. It is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Protection Area (SPA). From late July to February up to 4,000 ducks, of twelve different species, may be present, including internationally important numbers of shoveler and gadwall. Some 400 great-crested grebes gather on the lake in autumn.

Permits to enter the reservoir enclosure and to use the access road, path and bird hides are only available to members of recognized ornithological and naturalist societies.

Bird Watching Full Junior Family
Annual (Mar-Feb) £30 £11 £50
Half Year (Sept-Feb) £15 £5.50 £25
Daily £5 £5 £N/A

Permits may be obtained from our Recreations Department at Woodford Lodge. You may also obtain a permit by post from Woodford Lodge. Cheques should be made payable to Bristol Water plc. If you have any questions call 01275 332339.

Birdwatching maps

There are six bird hides at Chew Valley Lake including a new glazed hide (open to all – no permit needed) on the Bittern Nature Trail.  The hides at Wick Green, Nunnery Point and Moreton Bank are available in the winter, but the Stratford hide offers the best all-year viewing.  At Blagdon Lake there are hides at Home Bay Point and at Top End.