Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve

One of the largest stretches of open water in Herefordshire – great for birds and otters.

About the Reserve

Bodenham Lake is situated in the Lugg Valley, about 2 miles from Queenswood. It is one of the largest stretches of open water in Herefordshire. Covering around 50 acres, Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve is an important overwintering and breeding area for wildfowl and other aquatic wildlife.

The lake is designated as a Site of Local Importance and, where the reserve borders the River Lugg, it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation.

More than 160 species of birds have been recorded here while otters are regularly spotted. The lake is also a key breeding site for toads and thousands follow historic migratory routes to the lake each spring. With so much water about, it is also a good site for dragonflies and damsels.

Dogs at Bodenham Lake

Bodenham Lake is a popular dog walking destination.
In addition to the guidelines and byelaws which apply to all our countryside sites, please keep dogs under close control and out of the water.
The pasture and orchards are often grazed by livestock, and during warm, sunny weather there is a risk of potentially toxic algal blooms within the lake. This natural phenomenon occurs due to temperature changes in the water. As the algae decompose, they release a toxin into the water, which may cause a range of symptoms and illness (and possibly death given sufficient exposure or ingestion) in both animals and humans. When warnings are in force, dogs (and any other pets) should be kept on a lead at all times.
Do not swim, bathe or fish in the water and obey onsite signage.
View of Bodenham Lake.. Credit: Paul Lloyd
Bodenham Lake Summer 2020 - Credit: Sophie Cowling
Bodenham Lake Nature Reserve Easy Access Bird Hide


There are two easy access paths around part of the lake, both originating from the car park.

Know Before you Go

  • Free entry & parking.
  • Areas of this nature reserve are grazed seasonally by sheep. Please ensure dogs are on a lead around livestock.
  • No fishing, no swimming, no boating or other unauthorised recreational use of the lake is allowed.
  • Please take¬† all of your litter home with you.


  • Bird hides, including one which is fully accessible.
  • Pond dipping pond (use by prior appointment only)
  • Car Park