The Otterhead Local Nature Reserve is set around two lakes of the former landscaped gardens of Otterhead House which was demolished in 1952. The estate was developed in Victorian times and by 1890 included over 1700 acres of land. The Reserve was designated as a LNR in 2008.It is managed and leased from Wessex Water by the not for profit Otterhead Estate Trust Co Ltd. The company was set up in 2008 to conserve and part restore the built heritage features on site as well as continuing the work of the Somerset wildlife Trust who used to manage the reserve.
The main feature of the LNR is the valley of the River otter, in which the former Victorian estate had created a flight of five lakes and a complicated system of leats, weirs and pumps. Today only two of the lakes survive.
A range of semi-natural habitats make up the reserve including alder and willow carr, dry deciduous woodland, unimproved neutral grassland, and freshwater streams and ditches. Dormice, badgers and bat species occur in the woodland. The lakes supports bird species including kingfisher, dipper and wagtail.
Visitors should keep to clearly visible paths as dangerous deep silt is found in former lakebeds and leats. Naturally occurring spring line mires can be equally dangerous to everyone though small children and dogs would be particularly at risk if leaving the visible paths.
Please remember that the lakes provide drinking water for Taunton and that nesting birds will be present in the woodland during summer months so please keep dogs on a lead at all times.
Please note: We have used the nearest post code to locate this reserve, it may not pinpoint the site accurately.