Looking for Scenic Picnic Site in Devon? Try Fernworthy




fernworthy reservoir

If you are looking for a cooler or calmer picnic spot away from busy beaches at the height of summer, then my number one recommendation is Fernworthy reservoir. Just 40 minutes from Exeter.

Address: Fernworthy Reservoir, Chagford TQ13 8EZ

WHAT THREE WORDS REF: ///nest.elevator.wager

We first started visiting Fernworthy when my daughter was small, as she really didn’t get on with heat and we wanted somewhere a little cooler and perhaps a bit more relaxed than the beach. Dartmoor has a slightly cooler eco-system and is generally a degree or two cooler than the coast. We do get surprisingly an odd few days a year when the beach just feels a bit too hot and sticky and the Moors seem the best option or you just want somewhere a bit calmer.

Fernworthy is so picturesque it transforms you into another world. Sometimes I feel like I could be in a different country, such is the change in the vista. For this reason, you’ll often find locals seated around the shore, relaxing with their picnic.

What is There to do at Fernworthy

In addition to the scenic beauty, the area is of interest to bird and nature watchers, fishermen, walkers and those who are interested in archeological sites. There is an interesting archaeological site on the shore of the lake itself as well as a stone circle in the nearby forest.

Wildlife is plentiful, you’ll often see wild ponies drinking water from the reservoir. Across in the distance, over the other side of the reservoir, you can see Thornworthy Tor. The water itself is often a stopping point for Canada Geese and other wildfowl, for bird watchers you will want to bring your binoculas.

Fishing Brown Trout at Fernworthy

If you are interested in fishing you can purchase a license online to fish the waters. Whilst the area is popular, it is not overly fished and often you can be the only fisherman in the area. Go here for more information.

Can You Swim at Fernworthy?

Although the water looks very tempting you cannot swim at Fernworthy, there are a few signs dotted around reminding people of this. So if you were to risk it, you would probably get quite a stern response from locals worried about their drinking water supply.

If you are looking for wild swimming one of the most popular sites on Dartmoor is Deeper Marsh or Spitchwick Common on the maps, locals just call it Spitchwick.

What are the Facilities at Fernworthy?

Facilities are very limited, so bring your own food and be prepared to take away your own rubbish. There are toilets a public information map board and some picnic benches if you choose to need them. Car parking is payable by cash at the machine and at the time of writing is less than £4 for the day.

Wheel Chair Access for Fernworthy Reservoir

There are limited facilities for wheelchair access, unfortunately. Although the car park area is graveled and mostly flat, there is a grassed decline to the reservoir. The decline/incline I think could be just manageable over grass with assistance. If you have limited mobility the walk from the car park to the main picnic area and ‘lake’ is very short, 200 yards or so. I could not foresee the walks being accessible in a wheelchair due to the overgrowth of foliage. In the immediate foreground, you will see picnic benches.

Walking at Fernworthy

A popular walk is simply to walk around the reservoir, the distance is about 4.2km in total. It is mostly on the flat, though can be a little muddy if it’s been raining.

Follow the path a short distance to the right from the main car park, towards the dam, and you will find the remains of a hut dating back 2000 BC. Further along from the first car park, in the forest, you will see more evidence of ancient remains with an impressive stone circle.

Both a picnic by the reservoir and a visit to the 4000 year old stone circle are quite possible.

Futher link to a guided walk.

Please note I do try to keep this site up to date, but as things change often, it is recommended that before travelling any distance you do your own checks.

If you wish to feedback on the site content please get in touch.

Latest posts

  • Is Paignton Zoo Good? A Review & Advice

    Is Paignton Zoo Good? A Review & Advice

    A visit to the Zoo—an event that promises enjoyment for all ages. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park stands out making it a wonderful experience whether you’re entertaining small children, exploring with teenagers, or celebrating a birthday. Moreover, if you’re considering organising a special business event or party, the Zoo offers a unique and memorable venue that…

    Read more

  • Dartington Estate and Gardens: A Hidden Treasure Worth Exploring

    Dartington Estate and Gardens: A Hidden Treasure Worth Exploring

    Nestled in the picturesque South Devon landscape, Dartington Estate and Gardens offer a peaceful haven, inviting visitors to unwind and reconnect with the beauty of nature. With its captivating history, stunning gardens, and a diverse range of attractions, Dartington provides an ideal escape for individuals seeking a relaxing spot to gather with friends for a…

    Read more

  • Best East Devon Walk With Hidden WWII Secrets

    Best East Devon Walk With Hidden WWII Secrets

    We start at the Honesty Café just outside Otterton and embark on a moderately easy walk to Brandy Head, the site of a World War II Observation Post. This trail is popular with locals and visitors alike, offering dramatic cliff-top views and opportunities to spot birds and marine life. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature…

    Read more

error: Content is protected !!