Location Roadford Reservoir SX435929
Road Access Roadford Lake is signposted off the A30
Habitat Large reservoir with a variety of surrounding habitats including marsh, scrub, etc
Size Reservoir 295 ha plus surrounding land
Access Two hides and many walks. For the Bill Oddie hide park in layby SX435929 close by, wheelchair access
Site Manager
Tenure South West Lakes Trust. Bill Oddie hide Devon Birds

Roadford Res from Bill Oddie Hide Mary WallisRoadford Reservoir John O'Connell Davidson

Places to GoRoadford Reservoir

Roadford Reservoir is located to the north-east of Broadwoodwidger in West Devon eight miles east of Launceston. It is the largest area of fresh water in South West England.  It was the third and last ‘strategic’ reservoir in South West Water’s plans for SW England, after Colliford & Wimbleball.  It receives water from the River Wolf, has a surface area of 295 hectares (729 acres) and a storage capacity of 34,500 megalitres (8 billion gallons).

After the sluices were closed in October 1989, the reservoir started to fill and the first wildfowl (now WeBS) count was carried out in November 1989.  Since then, a team of up to eight counters has carried out monthly counts (in all weathers!) of all wildfowl, waders and gulls on the reservoir by walking four different stretches of the reservoir bank.  The monthly WeBS count figures are entered in the logbook in the hide and the data is submitted online to WeBS.  The hide at Westmoor, donated by Devon Birds, was opened by Bill Oddie on 31 March 1995.

It is the most important inland site for wildfowl in Devon, holding a peak in winter of around 2,000 or more wildfowl.  This includes up to 750 Canada Geese, 400+ Wigeon, 300+ Teal, 300+ Mallard, 200+ Tufted Duck, 300+ Coot, etc.  It also regularly holds smaller numbers of Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Goldeneye, Great Crested and Little Grebes. There is a small wader passage in late summer/autumn, depending on water levels.

It is the only site in Devon which is internationally important for Lesser Black-backed Gulls; a count of roosting gulls in November 2009 included 7,200 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Breeding species include Canada Goose, Mallard, Tufted Duck (occasionally), Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Moorhen, Black-headed Gull (occasionally), and Barn Owl.

Some of the scarcer birds recorded at Roadford include Whooper Swan, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Bufflehead, Smew, Bittern, Red Kite, Osprey, Little Ringed Plover, Lesser Yellowlegs, Great Skua, Yellow-legged Gull, Black Tern, and Great Grey Shrike.

Bat populations have been monitored at Roadford Lake by the Devon Bat Group since the reservoir was built in 1987, when over 200 bat boxes were erected as part of the mitigation works; healthy bat populations are known to exist across the site.  Recent surveys have also revealed that Roadford Lake hosts a healthy population of Hazel Dormouse and evidence suggests that dormice were present at Roadford pre-1989 before the valley was flooded.