Know before you go
Parking informationVisitors can park in either of the two Northumbrian Water pay and display car parks on site. The Conservation Area itself is best viewed from the north shore parking area.
Grazing animalsThe reserve is grazed at certain times of year by Exmoor ponies and sheep.
Footpaths and tracks pass the nature reserve area on the northern shore and are generally level and well surfaced. Terrain around the southern shore can be undulating, narrow and muddy in parts.
There is no public access to the Conservation Area as the ground is unstable and contains numerous hazards, but it can be viewed from the north shore car park. The rest of the reservoir surrounds are however a great place to visit with a circular walking trail, children’s play area and picnic spot. Please contact Northumbrian Water’s Rangers on 01669 621368 for any specific access requirements.
When to visit
Best time to visitSpring for migrant birds, summer for wildflowers.
About the reserve
All of Fontburn Reservoir, which was built in 1905, is designated as a local wildlife site. It provides a home to a wide variety of species of conservation concern, including red squirrel, badger, roe deer and stoat.
The popular fishery, holds both rainbow and brown trout, but the main area of wildlife interest managed by NWT in partnership with Northumbrian Water, is the Conservation Area immediately north of the reservoir. This area of wetland, scrub and grassland attracts a variety of bird and insect life, especially migrant songbirds such as redstart. It is also an important place for reptiles, with common lizard, adder, slow worm all recorded here recently and historical records of grass snake.
Toilets and shop selling light refreshments are available in the visitor centre on the south shore. Click here for opening times.