Testwood Lakes, near Southampton, is a valuable water resource for Hampshire and a haven for wildlife which is managed in partnership with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
The Testwood Lakes Centre is open to the public and offers a wide range of walks, bird-watching and community and educational events.
The site was created in 2002 and is made up of three areas – Little Testwood Lake, Testwood Lake and Meadow Lake.
Little Testwood Lake is a reservoir which is able to store 270 million litres of water which is pumped from the River Test when water flows are high enough.
Testwood Lake is a natural feature for wildlife and Meadow Lake is the main conservation area, which is home to a bird-hide.
The centre is home to a permanent exhibition on water, wildlife and conservation and runs events for schools and community groups. The events are run by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and are linked to the National Curriculum.
Courses for adults also include flintknapping, bird identification, bushcraft and living willow sculpture.
Hundreds of volunteers help keep the visitor centre open and take part in conservation projects at the site, including wood chipping, pond clearance and coppicing.
During the construction of the lakes, Wessex Archaeology discovered the remains of a timber bridge, part of a boat and a rapier from the Bronze Age about 3,000 years ago. Information on these can be found in the visitor centre.
Testwood Lakes is also home to a water efficient garden.
Testwood Lakes offers sightseers, walkers, birdwatchers and anglers the chance to enjoy idyllic natural surroundings in the company of amazing wildlife.
The Testwood Lakes Centre is open to the public in the summer between 1pm and 4pm and in the winter between 12pm and 3pm. Parking and access to the lakes is available between 8am and 6pm in the summer and 8am and 4pm in the winter.
Guided walks, events and activities take place throughout the year at Testwood and details of these can be found on the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s website.
There are many things to do at Testwood Lakes:
Take a walk around the lakes: there are several routes from which to choose and information boards on plants and animals.
Hike all the way round Testwood Lake (allow an hour) or Little Testwood Lake (allow 30 minutes).
Little Testwood Lakes is a coarse fishery stocked with rudd, roach, chubb, tench and bream. It is managed by the Southampton Piscatorial Society and Test Valley Anglers Club.
Day tickets for non-members are available from the clubs, as well as from
41 Rumbridge Street
Tel: 02380 862021
Fishing is available from June to March during daylight hours.
The bird hides on site provide an excellent vantage point overlooking Meadow Lake and a specially designed wetland area.
You might see lapwings, shellduck or house martins in the spring and summer or tufted ducks, coots, gadwalls and grey heron in the winter.
The bird hides are open everyday between 10am and 4pm.
Testwood Lakes is open daily from 8am to 6pm in summer (April–September) and 8am to 4pm in winter (October–March). Fishing is available from June 16 to March 14 during daylight hours only.
Testwood Lakes is situated 1½ miles from the centre of Totton. It forms part of the Test Valley – an area of international importance for wildlife.
By car: From the M27 junction 2, take the A326 Fawley/Totton road and take the first exit, signposted Totton (A36). At the first roundabout, turn left into Brunel Road. Testwood Lakes is situated 300m down on the left hand side.
Pedestrian access: available from Hill Street, Brunel Road and the public footpath running from Salisbury Road (A36) to Mill Lane. After periods of heavy rain, some pathways may become flooded.
Rail: Totton station is 1½ miles from the reserve, with trains running there every hour from Southampton.
Bus: Bluestar No. 12 runs every half hour, Monday to Saturday and every hour on Sundays from Southampton calling at Testwood Crescent which is ¼ mile from the reserve. Wilts & Dorset X7 runs hourly Monday to Saturday from Southampton to Testwood Crescent.
Parking: the car parks are open every day from 8am to 6pm in the summer and from 8am to 4pm during the winter. The gates to the nature reserve and car park have a 1.9m height barrier. Centre staff may be able to remove this for visitors phoning ahead on the number below.
For Centre staff, call on 02380 667929.