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Great Days Out: Farmoor Reservoir Oxford

Explore this 400 acres man-made reservoir in the heart of Oxfordshire, surrounded by beautiful countryside with woodland views and the River Thames nearby.


Great Days Out: Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire

Farmoor Reservoir is a man-made reservoir situated five miles west of Oxford. Split into two lakes, it covers an area of 400 acres in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside.

Farmoor is surrounded by beautiful countryside with woodland views and the River Thames nearby. Close by, there are three nature reserves; Pinkhill, Shrike and Buckthorne, each offering an array of habitat between them. There is plenty to do around the reservoir. Activities include countryside walks, birdwatching, trout fly-fishing, sailing, and windsurfing.

Great Days Out: Countryside Walk at Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire

Countryside walk at Farmoor

There is a four-mile circular walk around the reservoir. The walk starts from the visitor car park at gate three, and maps can be obtained from the Farmoor Reservoir centre. You will be following the Countryside Walk the whole way round which is waymarked with a mixture of blue arrows and yellow-banded posts

The walk is a lovely mix with the chance to enjoy views of the water, woodland paths, Thames riverside meadows and nature reserves. Information boards around the walk explain the wildlife interest of the area. Dogs are welcome if kept on a lead, but nowhere else on the reservoir site. We regret that the walk is not suitable for wheelchairs.

Great Days Out: Bird Watching at Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire

Bird watching at Farmoor

Farmoor Reservoir is one of the top birdwatching locations in Oxfordshire. The combination of an open reservoir, woodland, and riverside wetlands and meadows attracts a great variety of birds ranging on occasion from Ospreys Pandion haliaetus to Garganey Anas querquedule to the sought after Red Throated Diver that visits the site through the winter months.

Farmoor Reservoir enjoys a close relationship with the Oxford ornithological society, and together they hold open days and bird events throughout the year. The three wetland nature reserves situated at the northern end of the reservoir have won national awards for habitat creation and management. They offer superb views and hands-on experience with some of the area’s wonderful array of inhabitants.

Great Days Out: Sailing at Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire

Sailing at Farmoor

Oxford Sailing Club, which is based at the reservoir runs regular racing, and training events, for dinghy and windsurfing. In 2018 the Oxford Sailing Club hosted the Inland National Championships for the British Finn and Europe Classes at the reservoir.

Also based at Farmoor is the Oxford & District Schools Sailing Association (ODSSA) which provides sailing experience and training for young people and schools, youth groups and colleges in the area. While the ODSSA is a membership association, they are able to offer children’s sailing courses to the general public during holiday periods.

Great Days Out: Fishing at Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire

Fishing at Farmoor

Fly fishing
Farmoor Reservoir is split by a long causeway, creating two reservoirs to fish in. Lake one is the ‘catch and release’ lake most noted for its specimen-sized brown trout, though there are some very big rainbows present too. Most fishing here is from the bank. There is one boat available, which requires advance booking. Lake two is the ‘take-out’ lake. Farmoor trout have a reputation as being among the tastiest in the country.

Coarse fishing
The only coarse fishing to take place on the reservoirs is for pike at selected times of the year. Lake one has a stock of pike up to 30lb+ but seems to be the least popular to fish, with reservoir two seeing many anglers hunting down the potential monsters. Behind the reservoir, a stretch of the Thames spanning more than a mile is available to fish. This is free to all Angling Trust members, otherwise, it will require a day ticket.

Great Days Out: Panoramic View of Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire

On-site facilities

The Rangers’ lodge carries a small selection of essential fishing items including clothing, rods, nets and fly-tying tools and materials. A selection of snacks and cold drinks is also available here, but if you require something more substantial the café situated inside the main sailing club building is usually open at weekends.

Tackle hire is also available on request and our rangers are always on hand to offer any advice and tuition that may be required. There are a number of car parks situated around the reservoir making this suitable for anglers who have difficulties with mobility. Farmoor reservoir two also has a wheely-boat, designed to accommodate wheelchair-using anglers.

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Getting to Farmoor

The reservoir is well connected, just a few minutes drive from the A40 and A34. A frequent bus service between Oxford and Witney stops in Farmoor village, approximately half-a-mile away from gate three.

The car park is a ‘pay on exit’ system and costs £2 per day (correct Spring 2018). The car park is accessed through Gate 3 for Farmoor Reservoir which is accessed from Cumnor Road in Farmoor (marked with brown tourist signs). Approximate postcode is OX2 9NS.


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