Know before you go
Parking informationSmall car park in picnic area.
Along road only. Links to several public rights of way in surrounding countryside.
Views over the western part of the reserve from the picnic site or walk up the road a short way to access the bench from which you can view the upper parts of the ponds. Please note - it is not advisable to venture onto or around the ponds. For more information on visiting our reserves and other general countryside hazards please see our visitor information page.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year but particularly mid-summer
About the reserve
Once a fishing pond in the Middle Ages, this nature reserve now boasts otters, dragonflies and kingfishers.
The nature reserve is just off the A350, on the road to Shafestbury. It is a large former fish pond site on the course of Collyer's Brook with a fringe of wet woodland and colourful bankside vegetation.
Fed from the chalk spring at Springhead, 200m to east of the reserve, Collyer's Brook runs into two large "stew ponds" created in the Middle Ages for the breeding of rainbow and brown trout.
These now make a great place to spot a range of wetland birds and dragonflies; with common, soprano and Daubenton's bats visiting at night to feed over the water. Otters have also been known to take advantage of the easy fishing provided by the ponds.
Leave the A350 at Fontmell Magna opposite The Fontmell pub heading towards Ashmore. The reserve is approxiately 1/4 mile along the road on the right. Small car park in the adjoining picnic site. By foot access from the public footpath leading from the three sections of nearby Fontmell Down and from paths around Fontmell Magna.