Habitat: Man-made reservoir with adjoining wildflower meadows and mature mixed woodland
ST337093, TA20 1HR
Built in 1842 to provide water for the Chard–Taunton Canal, the reservoir is now managed as public open space. It offers a good variety of woodland birds and the more common waterfowl. Great Crested Grebes are resident and it’s a good spot for Kingfishers, especially in winter.
From the main car park a series of footpaths traverse the reserve, with woodland walks giving good views of the open water. A hide at the southern end is the best place to view the south-west corner where, depending on the time of year, most birds seem to feed or rest. Note that the hide is usually locked from mid-afternoon.
Water levels are normally lowered in July (once all Great Crested Grebe nests are vacated), timed to coincide with returning wader passage. Both Green and Common Sandpipers are annual and may be joined by Greenshank, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Wood Sandpiper, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers.
Little Egrets increase in winter to up to 20; Great White Egrets have visited occasionally and will probably become more regular. Wintering duck numbers have plummeted since the mid 1990s, but Tufted Duck, Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler can be expected. Gulls do not roost, but visit to rest and bathe during the day; Mediterranean Gull is becoming more regular. Tern passage is unpredictable in recent years.
The more unusual species seen in the recent past have included Ring-necked Duck, Cattle Egret, Spoonbill, Iceland Gull, Red-throated Diver, Gannet and Yellow-browed Warbler.
The site list is 180 species.
The main car park is located off the main A30 Crewkerne Road, at the end of Oaklands Avenue. Brown tourism signs throughout Chard town direct you to the reserve.
Tarmac and all weather footpaths to hide (which has wheelchair access) and woodland trail. No facilities on site.
About the Site
Reservoir is owned and managed by South Somerset District Council: https://www.southsomersetcountryside.com/chard-reservoir/
Sightings are updated daily at http://www.chardres.totalserve.co.uk/
Other points of interest
Photo of site courtesy of Jan Wrightson