Blackwater Valley Countryside

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Lakeside Nature Reserve

Nature reserveAnglingPublic parking

Lakeside Nature ReserveThis 20-hectare site lies in the heart of the Blackwater Valley on the borders of Surrey and Hampshire, west of the centre of Ash. Around 1900 it was typical of the many wet pasture and meadows alongside the River Blackwater. Gravel workings in the 1950s drastically altered the site, but formed the basis for today’s landscape, a complex of wet habitats including river, ponds, lakes, reed beds, orchid meadow and wet woodland. This mosaic provides an ideal situation for a range of species, some rare such as:

  • Hairy DragonflyLakeside Nature Reserve
  • Water Violet

and more common species including:

  • Bee Orchid
  • Ragged Robin
  • Common Blue butterflies
  • Bats

The site was purchased by Guildford Borough Council in 1984 for use as a public amenity. The land was restored, trees planted and a network of footpaths and the car park created. The BVCP have
worked with the owners, and Surrey County Council, for over 20 years to carefully restore the site. Common Spotted Orchid

The site has recently undergone some major improvements (2009/10). Trees and shrubs have been removed to open up the views from the entrance, around the fishing lakes and along the paths. A new car park has been created with a new footpath leading to the Blackwater Valley Path. A new play space has been located near the entrance. Designed for 8-13 year-olds it uses natural, innovative and challenging designs to create a much needed space for young people which blends in well with the environment.


The main access is from Lakeside Road in Ash. Grid ref: SU 886 518 where there is a free car park. Access is also possible by foot from the Blackwater Valley Path, between the Basingstoke Canal and Lakeside Road railway bridge.


Angling is available on the two largest lakes. The big lake has a varied contour with many varied swims, the general depth is around five feet. This lake is suitable for disabled anglers on some swims.

Angling at LakesideThe big lake is stocked with:

  • Roach
  • Rudd
  • Gudgeon
  • Crucian Carp to 2.5lb
  • Carp to 18lb
  • Tench to 6lb
  • Bream to 5lb
  • Pike to 27lb
  • Perch.

The small lake contains:

  • Roach
  • Rudd
  • Crucian Carp
  • Carp
  • Tench
  • Perch
  • Bream
  • Silver Bream
  • Pike.

Further information

  • Telephone the General Enquiries, Parks and Countryside Division, Guildford Borough Council on 01483 444705
  • For angling contact the Hartley Wintney Angling Society
  • Visit our wildlife pages for more detailed information about the management of Lakeside Nature Reserve and other lakes and ponds
  • Obtain a free information leaflet containing details about nature trails around the site from us at the address below

 See also the map of the Valley