Thrupp Lake is a wonderful watery oasis on the outskirts of Abingdon. Part of the Radley Lakes complex, Earth Trust manages the lake and some of the surrounding conservation areas to benefit wildlife and to provide a fabulous wetland reserve for locals to explore.
What to see
Thrupp Lake is well worth a visit at any time of year: in spring the trees begin to blossom, herons gather, cygnets hatch and kingfishers dart by. During summer the lake shimmers with emergent damselflies and darting dragonflies. In autumn the colours are spectacular and swans glide gracefully beneath the trees, whilst in winter the chilly mist or snow can transform the lake into a magical setting which throngs with a multitude of overwintering wetland birds.
Walking around the lake and hearing its birdsong always gives visitors an enormous sense of calm and well-being. During the early summer there is also the opportunity to enjoy common spotted orchids and white helleborines, particularly in St David’s Meadow. This transformation of this area from scrubland has been one of our greatest achievements on site.
There is a circular walk around the lake, a gentle stroll of around 1.7km/1 mile. There is a wooden boardwalk across the North West corner that gives you the chance to walk over water.
One of the most exciting recent sightings has been otters! These magnificent mammals have been seen in the lake, though you’ll need to very quiet to catch a glimpse of them.
With its scenic, tranquil and wildlife rich habitats, we hope that after visiting you will fall in love with Thrupp Lake, just as many local people have done already – the site currently receives around 28,000 visits a year.
The Radley Lakes complex is an area of former gravel workings; some of these have now been filled in with pulverised fuel ash (PFA) from Didcot Power Station, while others remain as lakes. In 2008, two of the lakes were saved from destruction after a long community-led campaign by the Save Radley Lakes group. This group became the Friends of Radley Lakes who are now integral to helping look after the site.
Earth Trust has been managing Thrupp Lake on behalf of landowners RWE Generation since 2009. In 2015 we were awarded management contracts to look after some of the land that is now grassland and developing woodland within the complex of former lakes. There is a regular volunteer group that helps look after the site.
Thrupp Lake is an important wildlife habitat and because of this recreational water activities, such as canoeing, are not allowed. Please also note that during warmer weather blue/green Algae (or cyanobacteria) may be present. This algae poses a health risk – it is often fatal for dogs and can cause very unpleasant symptoms in humans; please enjoy the water from a distance.
There is a fishing syndicate which operates at Thrupp Lake and nearby Bullfield Lake, though there is a long waiting list to join; if you require more information please send us an email and we can put you in touch with the group.