Swindon SN5 7ET
What3Words: ///trunk.feel.oven
OS map 169 Grid ref: SU124859

When to visit

This reserve is not open to the public. Visits are limited to guided tours and open days only.

Know before you go

  • Not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs
  • Dogs are not allowed
  • Paths are cut through vegetation and can be uneven
  • Viewing platform. Access to site via prior appointment only - tours are currently closed for 2022.
  • 23 hectares

Download the reserve leaflet

Join our volunteering group

About the nature reserve

Swindon Lagoons reserve map © WWT

Swindon Lagoons is an incredible story of nature’s ability to recover. Until 1985 the lagoons stored waste by-products of Thames Water’s sewage treatment works. Thames Water cleared them out, they were planted with reeds, and wildlife has flooded back under our management.

The reserve lies behind a security fence and visits are limited to guided tours and open days. Book one and enjoy your walk around the 15 lagoons, reed beds, grassland, marshland and stretch of River Ray.

What can be seen here?

The site can be seen from the viewing platform on the cycle path. In summer follow paths cut through rough grass to see dragonflies like the common darter and emperor. Grass snakes and slow worms will sunbathe on a warm day. Watch sand martins, swallows and reed buntings hunt for insects over the water. In winter see if you can spot shoveler duck, little egret and tufted duck on the water while snipe and sandpipers probe the mud for insects. Look out for tennis ball-sized knots of woven grasses at the tops of long grass – the nests of harvest mice.

Great crested newts, frogs and toads are found in most lagoons. You might even see an otter or water vole in the river. Visit in the evenings and you could spot roe deer, foxes, badgers and bats - the tiny pipistrelle, Daubenton’s and serotin. Volunteers ensure that open water doesn’t turn into woodland through a buildup of vegetation and that all habitats are maintained in balance.

Join us on a virtual tour:

How can I get here?

Download directions to Swindon Lagoons