Thrupp Lake

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. A former gravel pit, it has been transformed from its industrial past. It’s now brimming with life, providing a safe haven for many protected species. 

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What to see

Thrupp Lake is a great place to 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. In the chilly winter months, 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 the 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.

There is a circular walk around the lake – a gentle stroll of around 1.7km/1 mile. A wooden boardwalk, across the North West corner, gives you the chance to walk over water.

One of the most exciting things to see at Thrupp Lake are the otters! These magnificent mammals are often seen in the lake, though you need to keep very quiet to catch a glimpse of them.

With its scenic, tranquil and wildlife rich habitats, it’s easy to understand why many visitors fall in love with Thrupp Lake.


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 the landowners 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 swimming and paddle boarding, 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.

Visitor Information

Parking: A car park is available on site

Opening Times: Always open

Dog Walking: Dogs allowed when on the lead

Toilets: No