Blackwater Valley Countryside

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GoosandersMoor Green Lakes Nature Reserve

Nature reservePublic parking

Moor Green Lakes inwinterThe reserve, opened in 1993, has been established through the careful restoration of gravel workings. Covering 36 hectares it is an important site for breeding and wintering birds and there are three lakes with gravel islands that attract wildfowl for breeding and loafing. A number of scrapes have also been created to attract wading birds.

To the west of the site the gravel workings, known as Manor Farm, are gradually being transformed and will eventually become part
of the reserve. 

Over 200 species of bird have been recorded in this area of the Valley. If you visit this site in winter you will probably see some of these regular visitors:

  • Gadwall by Kevin BriggsGoosander 
  • Wigeon
  • Pochard
  • Gadwall (pictured)
  • Shoveler
  • Goldeneye
  • Tufted Duck
  • Coot

If you visit the site in summer look out for these species:

  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Great Crested Grebe
  • Hobby
  • Sand Martin
  • Willow Warbler
  • Whitethroat
  • Sedge Warbler
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Common Tern

Lapwings have successfully bred on the site.

Bird watching

The lakes are easily observed from footpaths around the site and two hides, one overlooking Colebrook Lake, the other at Grove Lake, give excellent views over the islands and scrapes. These are available for use by members of the Moor Green Lakes Group only. There are viewing points alongside the hides for non-members.

Flora and fauna

The lakes are fringed by Willow, Ash, Hazel, Maple and scrub and the northern and western edges of the reserve are managed as grassland which contains a wide variety of native meadow plants.


The lakes and adjacent river support large numbers of dragonflies and damselflies. In addition a variety of mammals are found on the site, they include:

  • Roe Deer
  • Foxes
  • Pipistrelle and Daubenton's bats


The southern edge of the site is bordered by the River Blackwater and the Blackwater Valley Path.

Moor Green Lakes Group

Membership of the Moor Green Lakes Group offers unlimited access to the hides and an informative annual report. For anyone wanting to become actively involved in the practical management and conservation of Moor Green Lakes, there are regular conservation work parties throughout the year.

Reserve wins prestigious prize

Site awarded the Cooper-Heyman European CupThis sign can be found at the entrance to Moor Green Lakes Nature Reserve. In 1997 the Moor Green Lakes Nature Reserve, along with the surrounding land making up the Blackwater Valley Watersports, Sean Deveraux Park and playing fields won the prestigious Cooper-Heyman European Cup which was awarded to RMC Aggregates (now CEMEX Ltd) by the Sand and Gravel Association for outstanding restoration.

Unless you knew the history of the area would you know that the area is made up of former gravel extraction sites?

Further information

 See also the map of the Valley