Wildlife and conservation: access

We own hundreds of sites and landholdings across our region, ranging from small pumping stations to large treatment works and reservoirs.

Our region is incredibly rich in wildlife with many nationally and internationally protected species and habitats which are also found on our own land.

We recognise our responsibilities to conserve and enhance wildlife and heritage on our land and provide access for the public where possible.

Where there is public access to our facilities, we aim to ensure these are well-managed and as accessible as possible.

We have a number of reservoirs and lakes which are often also nature reserves.   

Many are open to the public and offer a variety of recreational activities, opportunities for visiting special wildlife habitats and viewing historic features including:

  • coarse and game fishing
  • clubs for fishing, water skiing, canoeing, sailing and model boating
  • fishing lodges at our four principal reservoirs
  • nature trails with viewpoints, picnic areas and bird watching
  • visitor guides to reservoirs and lakes
  • six dedicated full-time rangers with a range of responsibilities at our reservoirs -  site checks, visitor and fishery information, fishery and habitat management.

We also have a water supply museum and seven education and study centres in the region which are part of our education programme run by three education advisers.

In 2015 we appointed a full-time conservation, access and recreation (CAR) officer to oversee and co-ordinate CAR projects at some of our largest and most visited sites, and those of greatest importance for wildlife and heritage.

Recent projects initiated include:

  • The installation of a new children’s play space at Sutton Bingham reservoir
  • Geophysical surveys to provide a wide-scale picture of important archaeological remains on our landholding at Sutton Poytnz Water Treatment Centre
  • Baseline habitat surveys at Otterhead Lakes to enable the impact of beavers living on site to be assessed in future
  • Installation of accessible paths and bicycle parking racks at Bleadon Levels nature reserve to encourage visits to the reserve from cyclists passing on the adjacent national cycle route.

Related downloads

Conservation, access and recreation report 2019-2020