Weir Wood Reservoir in the Ashdown Forest is mostly water, surrounded by strips of open grassland, scrub and woodland. Low lying meadows also form part of the reserve.
The western end of the reservoir is a nature reserve. The rest is used for fishing and water sports.
What you will find
The site covers about 152 hectares and is important for wildlife with many different habitats:
- open water
- river banks
- mature trees and scrub
Birds that you can often see include:
- teal swifts
In winter it’s a refuge for wildfowl including pochard, tufted duck and goldeneye. During the summer months, the water’s edge buzzes with insect life. Twelve pairs of heron regularly breed in the heronry.
Dragonflies, damselflies and a whole host of butterflies are present.
Fishing and sailing is permitted at the eastern end of the lake.
Walking, cycling and access
There is no public access to the site but the Legsheath Lane car park provides good views across the reservoir. An easily accessible bird hide and viewing platform are popular with birdwatchers.
A public footpath runs along the north bank. This has a picnic site towards the top end.
How to get there
Heading north on the A22, turn left at Wych Cross on to Legsheath Lane.
A car park is situated on Legsheath Lane, map reference: TQ383341.
History and management
The reservoir was first flooded in 1954. The wildlife on the site increased so much that it was listed a Site of Special Scientific interest in 1966. Southern Water recognised the importance of the wildlife at the shallow western end and designated this area as an informal nature reserve, excluding boating and fishing.
Iron rich streams and a number of old slag heaps along the river are relics of a busy iron industry.
Weir Wood Reservoir is owned by Southern Water. However conservation work is managed in partnership between Southern Water, ESCC and the Friends of Weir Wood.
The Friends of Weir Wood help monitor the wildlife and add labour and financial support towards many of the projects on site.