A Walk Around Otterhead Lakes in the Blackdown Hills

Otterhead Lakes are two beautiful reservoirs south of Taunton in the Blackdown Hills and are a great spot for a walk. With a little river connecting them there are footpaths, bridges, birds to watch and what looks like a carpet of bluebells waiting to emerge later this month.

Despite living only 20 minutes away for quite some time, I’d only recently heard of these lakes – I reckon it’s a ploy by locals in the know to keep it for themselves! Sorry I’ve rumbled you!

On our walk we rather deviated from the main path  – hence the alternative muddy route we found ourselves on which the kids loved! But really there is little chance of getting lost on this circular walk around Otterhead Lakes.

Children tree climbing
In the car park there is a map. I took a picture on my phone to refer to but we still managed to veer off the official path. I partly blame our dog who decided to race towards Churchinford after a pheasant!

This really is a lovely place for a country walk. If you follow the route on the map the paths are fairly well maintained and not too muddy. You would be fine with a decent pushchair on some of the paths. However if you head off round the lakes like we did  –  a bit off road as it were, then wellies are required, certainly at the moment.

Otterhead Lakes

The lakes are beautifully peaceful and so was the walk – admittedly it was a Monday lunchtime, but I reckon this is a place reserved for those in the know.  Compared to some local beauty spots this is definitely one to keep quiet about!

For once I am not going to waffle on too much. Instead I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

We spent about an hour at Otterhead Lakes in the Blackdown Hills but I’m sure you could take longer if you loop round more than once, stop to play pooh sticks, climb trees, take a picnic or extend your visit by walking into the village of Churchinford to the shop or pub.


Blackdown Hills muddy walk

Otterhead Lakes in the Blackdown Hills are a great place for children to run around, play in the stream and enjoy being outdoors.

The lakes are as the name suggests just at the source of the River Otter. The river then flows all they way to Honiton, Ottery St Mary and Otterton, finally reaching the sea at Budleigh Salerton. The river gives it name to local beer, ice cream and flour.

I’m going to go back later this month with my mum once the bluebells are out to take some more pictures (and take in a pub lunch)! Once the trees are in leaf it really will be even more beautiful.

Otterhead Lakes bridge
Otterhead Lakes children

DIRECTIONS and Facilities

The lakes are about 7 miles south of Taunton, just off the B3170  – locally known as the Corfe Road to Taunton.

Otterhead Lakes Nature Reserve, Otterford,
Nr Taunton, Somerset TA3 7EE

Please note there are no toilets or facilities at the lake. The nearest village is Churchinford which has a shop, open every day and selling coffee and snacks as well as a village pub, The York Inn. I’ve not been to either but will on my return.

Enjoy Your Walks and Days Out

I hope you enjoy this walk and don’t forget to look at other walks in the area such as Musbury Castle near Seaton. as well as my guide to local  events and activitiesPlease feel free to leave comments on here for any walk you complete to let me know how you got on.

The lakes were originally part of large landscaped gardens of the Otterhead Estate. There was a house and walled gardens as well. Sadly now no longer to be seen, the area has been turned into a nature reserve.

If you want to learn more about the estate or join a guided walk you can go along to a Heritage Open day guided walk – these are run two or three times year. More details about the estate on the Otterhead Trust’s website. This also includes good directions for getting there.

The reservoirs are managed by Wessex Water and there are also fishing rights on the lakes.

woodland path Somerset
Otterhead Lakes top lake