A special watery oasis
Discover Thrupp Lake, Radley on the outskirts of Abingdon. A truly special oasis that has blossomed almost where you least expect it. In this small corner of busy south east England sits one of the best places to see wetland wildlife that you could hope to find...
A magical place all year round
Thrupp Lake is magical at any time of year: in spring the trees begin to blossom, herons gather, cygnets hatch and kingfishers dart by. During summer the lake shimmers with emergent damselflies and darting dragonflies. In autumn the colours are spectacular and swans glide gracefully beneath the trees, whilst in winter the chilly mist or snow can transform the lake into a magical setting which throngs with a multitude of overwintering birds.
Walking around the lake and hearing its birdsong always gives visitors an enormous sense of calm and well-being. During the early summer there is also the opportunity to enjoy common spotted orchids and white helleborines, particularly in St David's Meadow. This transformation of this area from scrubland has been one of our greatest achievements on site.
There is a circular walk around the lake, a gentle stroll of around 1.7km/1 mile. There is a wooden boardwalk across the North West corner that gives you the chance to walk over water. A bird hide, with a green roof that blends in to the surroundings, provides an opportunity to watch and photograph any skittish birds without disturbing them.
One of the most exciting recent sightings has been otters! These magnificent mammals have been seen in the lake, though you'll need to very quiet to catch a glimpse of them. We'll be doing more work to make enhance the habitat available to otters, find out how you can help.
With its scenic, tranquil and wildlife rich habitats, we hope that after visiting you will fall in love with Thrupp Lake, just as many local people have done already - the site currently receives around 28,000 visits a year.
Earth Trust welcomes dogs to all sites but they must be kept on a lead at all times - this is primarily to protect the breeding birds in spring/summer and the overwintering birds in autumn/winter. Please be responsible and pick up after your dog - bags and bins are available. Thank you.
As Thrupp Lake is managed for wildlife, unfortunately we do not allow any recreational activities on or in the water (swimming, canoeing, paddleboarding, etc).
An independent fishing syndicate hold the fishing rights for Thrupp Lake and members are the only people permitted to fish the lake. Please contact Lucy Tomkinson, Community Reserves Warden, on 01865 407792 if you have any questions.
Site Management Plan
If you are interested in finding out more about how we look after Thrupp Lake we have a range of documents you can download:
In recent months you may have noticed a fence has been installed around neighbouring Bullfield Lake - this work has been funded and carried out by the local fishing syndicate, find out more...
Earth Trust has been managing Thrupp Lake since 2009 and we were recently awarded a second one-year management contract to look after some of the land that is now grassland and developing woodland within the complex of former lakes at Radley.
Community support and volunteering
This man-made lake is highly valued by local residents, naturalists, and the Friends of Radley Lakes. We hold weekly volunteer work parties every Thursday, and the group does a fantastic job of helping to manage the site. The landowner, RWE npower, has given the Earth Trust a 25-year lease and funding to support the management. In addition, there has been support from adjacent landowners and their co-operation has allowed a permissive pathway to complete the circuit of the lake.
Directions to Thrupp Lake
Thrupp Lake, Radley is just outside Abingdon and 15 minutes drive from Oxford.
Postcode: OX14 3NG
OS Landranger 164 Ref SU520978
Download our Map & Walking Guide
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Thank you to Jo Cartmell for images