For latest sightings see: Diaries in Sheepwash and Paul Stanley Hides, Wildlife log book in Wildlife Centre, information board outside Visitor Centre, last month’s Bird Notes posted in all hides and notice boards, the bird club web site and see the comprehensive annual bird report produced by the club.
Species: 70 daily, 100 monthly, 170 annually and 224 species recorded since 1992.
Breeding Birds: 65 species annually, 80 proven plus 14 possible species since 1992 and a probable breeding population of 2116 pairs established by 2007 including 167 Willow Warbler.
Wintering Wildfowl: 2000+ Ducks, 1000 Coot, 500 Canadas and 30 feral Barnacle Geese.
Waders: up to 500 Lapwing in winter, spring and autumn passage variable up to 20 species but only a few per day. Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Redshank breed.
Gull Roost: up to 10,000 birds, 13 species recorded. View usually distant from Stones Island at dusk.
Please leave records of birds, mammals, butterflies and dragonflies in diaries provided, with details and contact names, essential for any significant sightings.
There are 3 bird hides plus a Wildlife Centre hide all with disabled access, three large car parks, Visitor Centre, restaurant, café and shops. Foot and cycle access is via any part of the eight mile circular route. There is limited access to the shore and no public access to adjacent fields or to the seven islands but most shorelines and islands can be viewed with little disturbance to wildlife.
Visitor Centre Car Park: Pay & Display £2.50 for up to 2 hrs, £4.70 all day, or £45 for an annual season ticket.
Open summer 7am till dusk. Winter 8am till dusk.
Wildlife Centre, north end of car park, open 9am- 6pm [or dusk if earlier], heated hide containing displays, wildlife information, wildlife records book, cameras and monitors on birdlife, overlooking an island for breeding birds and a feeding station for tree sparrows. Stones Island provides good views over much of the water and the gull roost can usually be observed at dusk. Outside busy visitor times it attracts common passage birds.
The Visitor Centre, restaurant, café, shops, toilets, cycle hire, water sports, fishing and children’s playground are also located here.
Millfields Car Park: No barrier – 8am till as shown on entry post [usually dusk]. Toilet facilities. Access to the dam wall and walks below. Some of the water and dam wall can be viewed from cars, useful in poor weather. Pay & Display – £2.50 all day.
Sheepwash Car Park: £1.50 for 2 hours, £2.50 all day. 8am till as shown on entry gate post [usually dusk]. Access eastwards to Sheepwash and Paul Stanley Hides. These hides have site diaries for checking on/recording sightings. Site maps, STWA information, last month’s bird notes and Bird Club details are posted in these hides. Access westwards to the small brick observation tower, Lane End Hide and then a Tree Sparrow feeding station.
Where to watch the birds at Carsington Water
There are 3 hides (Paul Stanley, Sheepwash and Lane End) and a fully-heated Wildlife Centre (below). These are scattered across the western edge of the reservoir.
There are also several other viewing locations –
- Dam wall
- Stones Island
- Sheepwash Car Park
- Fishtail Creek
These are all shown on the map links below. ( to get back to this page from the maps – click the Back button on your browser )
Fishing season mid-March to mid-October. Includes fishing from motorised boats which are slow and quiet and restricted from the white buoyed-off, wildlife sanctuaries, thus keeping wildlife disturbance to a minimum.
Watersports are open all year, they require a large operational area to be effective but are limited to within the large orange buoys and have access to Watersports Island for some pursuits.
Sailing Club have access to the same water area and have a landing pier and observation tower on Sailing Club Island. All these users have fast motorised safety and rescue boats which have to be operational whenever facilities are in use.