Welcome to the Carsington Bird Club website, containing information about the club, Carsington Water, latest bird sightings and much more!

 Posted by on June 10, 2011

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Facilities and information for birdwatchers at Carsington Water.

Carsington Water is a multi-user water facility operated by Severn Trent Water.  

It was opened in 1992 by HM The Queen and is the 9th largest reservoir in England.  It sits around 200 metres above sea level with an eight-and-a half mile walk around the 300-hectare surface area of water.  It has become a major tourist attraction, particularly busy on sunny weekends and school holidays. There are three bird hides (one currently closed for renovation) plus a Wildlife Centre hide, all with disabled access, three large car parks, an impressive Visitor Centre, interactive display, restaurant, café, shops and toilets.  Foot and cycle access is via any part of the 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.

Visitors do not need to tackle a full perimeter walk to enjoy the site and see a good proportion of the birds it has to offer, as the bird hides are concentrated on the north-western shoreline between the Visitor Centre and ‘Hopton End’ at the reservoir’s most northerly point.

Some of the densest woodland is on the eastern shoreline, Hall Wood, Middle Wood and plantations fringing Fishtail Creek offering the stealthier birdwatcher glimpses of birdlife away from the water’s edge.


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Severn Trent Water website has parking information – click here

Please go to the Severn Trent Water website (https://www.stwater.co.uk/our-visitor-sites/carsington-water/parking-at-carsington) for the latest information on parking, which is by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) at all three car parks.

Visitor Centre Car Park: This is the largest car park, with overspill on busy days.  It costs £7 to park all day, £6 for up to four hours, £3.50 for 1-2 hours and £2 for up to one hour.  An annual pass costs £49, and an annual multi-site pass is £60.  It is open 7:30am to 7pm (8pm in the summer months).
The Wildlife Centre is off the north end of this car park.  It is a heated hide containing displays, wildlife information and wildlife recording book. vIt overlooks an island for breeding birds and a feeding station favoured by Tree Sparrows and Willow Tits.  Stones Island provides good views over much of the water, and from here the gull roost can usually be observed at dusk. Outside busy visitor times it attracts common passage birds; best time to visit is early morning.

The Visitor Centre is open 10am-5pm. A large restaurant, café, shops, toilets, cycle hire, watersports, fishing and children’s playground are also located here or very close by.
Millfields Car Park: costs £3 up to 2 hours, and £4.50 over 2 hours.  It has toilet facilities and is open from 8am until 7pm (8pm during the summer months).
The best location to access the dam wall and walks below, also check Penn Carr, Millfields Island and feeding station in car park.  Some of the expanse of water and the dam wall can be viewed from cars, which is useful in poor weather.
Sheepwash Car Park: costs £2 for 2 hours and £4 for over two hours, but there are no facilities. Also open 8am until 7pm (8pm in the summer months).  The feeding station in centre of car park is worth checking out, while head north-east for access to Sheepwash Hide (currently closed, awaiting renovation) and to Paul Stanley Hide where Marsh Tits have joined Willow Tits (among others) on feeders. These hides have various bits of useful information, such as CBC’s monthly Bird Notes, plus site diaries for checking on/recording sightings. Head south-west from the car park to Lane End Hide.

BIRDING INFORMATION:– 70 daily, 100 monthly, 170 annually and 237 species (to 2022) recorded since 1992.
Breeding Birds: 65 species breed annually and, overall, 80 species proven, plus 16 possible, since 1992. Surveys during 2002-2006 found 2,116 pairs of birds breeding including 167 pairs of Willow Warbler.
Wintering Wildfowl: Up to 2,000 Ducks, 1,000 Coot, 500 Canada Geese and 30 feral Barnacle Geese.
Waders: Up to 1000 Lapwing in winter. Spring passage is variable, with up to 20 species in total, but only a few per day.  Autumn passage can sometimes be poor. Oystercatcher, Lapwing and Redshank breed.
Autumn/Winter Gull Roost: Up to 10,000 birds, with 13 species recorded. View from Sheepwash Hide or 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.

Other Site Users: Fishing season mid-March to mid-October. Fishing is from motorised boats which are slow and quiet and restricted from the white buoyed-off wildlife sanctuaries, thus keeping wildlife disturbance to a minimum. Water sports 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.

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