Water­side wan­der­ings

SI­MONE STANBROOK-BYRNE dis­cov­ers wildlife-rich wa­ters, an old rail­way line and Vic­to­rian splen­dour at the foot of the Mendips

Somerset Life - - WALK -

The first time I saw Ched­dar Reser­voir was from the top of Ched­dar Gorge. To the west was a star­tlingly cir­cu­lar lake look­ing very man-made. Which, of course, it is.

Opened in 1937, its water sup­ply comes from the river that runs through Ched­dar Gorge, but de­spite its con­crete sides it is a mag­net for birdlife. Dur­ing the raw months of the year coots, great crested grebes, tufted ducks and pochards may all be spot­ted. Lit­tle owls are res­i­dent all year round.

The reser­voir has an area of about 260 acres and its pe­riph­eral path makes for easy walk­ing. Add in a stroll up to the woods of a Som­er­set Wildlife Trust na­ture re­serve and you have the mak­ings of an en­joy­able am­ble. Don’t for­get binoc­u­lars!

It’s also worth not­ing that Axbridge Farm­ers’ Mar­ket takes place on the first Satur­day of ev­ery month – a good time to visit.

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