If you’re looking for a day out then you should consider visiting Wimbleball Lake in the heart of Exmoor National Park. On a nice day the scenery really is stunning and there’s so much to do. Whether you want to explore the lake by foot, bicycle or kayak you’ll be able to go at your own pace and enjoy the experience.
Finding Wimbleball Lake
From Taunton take the A358 and turn under the bridge onto the B3224 to Raleigh Cross. At this crossroads take the B3190 until you reach a right hand turn signposted for Wimbleball.
From Tiverton take the A396 to Bampton. Then continue on the B3190 to Wimbleball.
From Dunster take the A396 towards Dulverton, then cut cross country via Brompton Regis following brown signs for Wimbleball Lake.
Postcode: TA22 9NU
Facts & Stats
Wimbleball Lake was built in 1979.
The reservoir holds approximately 21,000 megalitres of water
Distance around the lake: Approximately 9 miles/14.5 kilometres
Depth of the reservoir: Average of 50 meters/164 feet
Height of the dam: 49 meters/161 feet
Parking & Layout
Depending what road you come in on you might find that one car park is closer than others. Parking at the cafe is the ideal location for a short walk to the dam and is convenient for refreshments but you do have to pay for parking. If you’re planning on walking the circumference of the lake, looking for an ideal BBQ spot or wanting to avoid parking charges then I recommend parking on the roadside either on the bridge or just after it. You’ll see lots of other vehicles parked here. There are no restrictions but you’re probably a 20 minute walk from the cafe and any facilities.
Walks at Wimbleball Lake
There is a footpath around the entire circumference of the lake. Terrain is easy and suitable for even the most inexperienced walker. Being a lake the level is mostly flat as you stay pretty close to the water’s edge for the duration.
If you’re after a shorter walk (about 30 minutes), park up at the car park next to the cafe and head in an anticlockwise direction towards the dam. There are conveniently placed sign posts and maps to indicate which direction this is. And once you’ve started you’ll notice wooden posts updating you on your progress.
If you’re wanting a longer walk why not try walking the whole circumference of the lake. At approximately 9 miles the walk should take around 3 hours. There are lots of great photo opportunities and places to stop with a picnic. Walking is a great activity if you’re travelling on a budget as well!
If you’d rather purchase refreshments than bring a picnic head to Cafe Couture. Whether you’re after drinks, sandwiches, cake or ice cream, Cafe Couture is well stocked and the staff are super friendly. Conveniently located next to the car park and activity centre you can grab a bite after your walk or get a light lunch in between your activities.
Watersports & Activities
If you’re more the adventurous type and looking to get a little wet have a go at one of the watersports on offer. You can rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards and canoes. Or why not try windsurfing or sailing? All are on offer from the activity centre. You can even book online!
If you’d prefer a land-based activity there is archery available, a high ropes course, a climbing wall and a full playground all set a little way back from the lake. With so much on offer you won’t get bored!
Fishing at Wimbleball Lake
Wimbleball Lake is a popular spot for fishing. With little bays and inlets all around the lake you’re certain to find a free spot to fish the rainbow and brown trout that live in the lake. Make sure to catch the mayfly hatch in the summer months if you’re after something particularly special.
Birdwatching & Wildlife
Birdwatching at Wimbleball Lake is another popular activity. You’ll likely see Canada Geese and Mallard, which most people know as the common duck. The best area for birdwatching is Ruggs Bay.
With so much conservation work done on a regular basis, from hedge laying and coppicing to meadow management, wildlife at Wimbleball Lake is thriving. The work, carried out by regular volunteers, encourages red deer, hedgehogs, weasels, bats and kestrel to live and breed.
On your walk to the dam you may pass a sign about wild boar. Wild boar are now extinct in the wild but used to roam these parts freely. The sign explains that some wild boar have escaped from local zoos, boar farms and private collections and become feral. They have made the National Parks across Somerset and Devon their home and they love woodland areas. (As you can imagine this terrified me walking back to my car at 8pm alone but I really don’t think you’re likely to see one!)
The flora and fauna at Wimbleball is also worth noting. You’ll spot bluebells, bugle and red campion. As you can imagine the landscape is truly stunning.
Stargazing at Wimbleball Lake
Exmoor National Park is one of the first International Dark Sky Reserves in Europe. With an extraordinary lack of light pollution visibility at night is great. There are telescope hiring facilities for you to enjoy an evening stargazing. If you’re visiting Wimbleball Lake why not try out the Stargazer Belle Tent, complete with ceiling window, so you can enjoy the night sky in comfort?
Is Wimbleball Lake Dog Friendly?
Wimbleball Lake is a great dog friendly destination. However, when walking around the lake it’s asked that dogs are kept on leads to encourage and preserve the huge variety of wildlife that lives at Wimbeball. It is also requested that dogs are kept out of the lake. But definitely bring them along! Our four legged friends couldn’t ask for a better day out!
Can I swim at Wimbleball Lake?
Unfortunately swimming at Wimbleball Lake is prohibited. With such a lot of boats and activity on the water it would not fit health and safety regulations to allow swimmers. However, from time to time there are open water swimming events held at the lake.
Planning on Visiting Wimbleball Lake?
Hopefully this has given you most of the info you’ll need to successfully plan a trip to Wimbleball Lake. It really is a great day out with so much variety you’re sure to find activities the whole family will enjoy.
If you’re in the West Country for a while and fancy some more destinations check out the best beaches in South Devon!
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