In the spring and summer it's a great place to spot dragonflies and damselflies or look for reptiles. Bird life is abundant, both on the lake and the surrounding heathland and woodland edges - listen out for the sound of the cuckoo, look for shy crossbills in the woodland edges, or look for hobbies chasing dragonflies over the lake.
Know before you go
Grazing animalsEnglish longhorn cattle and Exmoor ponies at certain times of the year.
There is a way-marked trail. Please note that this doesn't always follow the main path.
When to visit
Opening timesThis nature reserve is open seven days a week and on every day of the year.
Best time to visitMarch to October
About the reserve
The ponds and ditches provide shelter, hunting and breeding sites for many species of damselfly and dragonfly as well as the rare great crested newt. The areas of heathland are a threatened habitat which once covered large areas of the Forest of Dean. They are characterised by their poor acidic soils and dominated with ling, bell heather and gorse, which is turn provides homes for common lizards, slow worms, grass snakes and adders. Birds such as stonechats, meadow pipits and cuckoos can be seen and heard on the open heath with siskins, redpolls and crossbills keeping to the woodland edge. Hobbies can be seen chasing dragonflies over the lake in the late summer. Fungi such as yellow brain fungus can be found on the dead branches of gorse and bay boletes are found under the pine trees.
How to get there:
Post code: Nearest post code is GL14 3HU. Please note that Woorgreens does not have its own car park. There is free parking for around 15 vehicles at Speech House Woodlands car park, Speech House Road, Cinderford GL16 7EH.
Grid reference: SO630127
FROM GLOUCESTER: Follow A430 to Over Causeway/A417. At the M50 roundabout, bear left onto the A40 towards Ross, Highnam and Chepstow. After 0.2 miles take a slight left and continue for 1.4 miles. At the roundabout take the first exit on the A48 and follow for 7.7 miles. Turn right onto A4151 just after the Elton Corner Texaco/Costcutter and follow for 5.8 miles – you will cross one roundabout and the road will become the B4226. Turn right 0.8 miles after you have passed the Forest of Dean Crematorium on your right. There is free parking for a number of vehicles at Speech House Woodlands car park, Speech House Road, Cinderford GL16 7EH.
FROM CHEPSTOW: Head towards Coleford on the B4228. On entering Sling, take the right turn, signposted Sling, Ellwood and Parkend on to Milestone Walk (becoming Parkend Walk) for one mile, then go left at the T-junction and continue for 2 miles. At the cross roads after the Crown Inn, go right onto New Road, becoming South Road. After 0.3 miles turn right onto A4226/Speech House Road (signposted to Speech House and Cinderford) and follow for 2.8 miles. Roughly 1 mile after passing the Speech House on your right, turn left into the Speech House Woodlands car park, Speech House Road, Cinderford GL16 7EH
FROM ROSS-ON-WYE: Follow the B4234 and New Road to Cannop. At Cannop turn left on to the A4226/Speech House Road. Roughly 1 mile after passing the Speech House on your right, turn left into the Speech House Woodlands car park, Speech House Road, Cinderford GL16 7EH.