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Farmoor Reservoir

Home > Oxford > Animals and Wildlife | Day Trips | Escape the City | Lakes
Published August 18th 2021
A whisper of the sea in a landlocked county
Farmoor Reservoir serves Oxford and Swindon with drinking water and is also open to the public for walking, fishing, bird watching and water sports.

It is said that nowhere in the UK is further than 70 miles from the sea. Oxford must be one of the furthest, as the nearest beach lies 68 miles away. This can feel like a very long way on a sunny weekend when the roads are packed with stationary cars.

Instead, travel just 5 miles west of Oxford City Centre and experience the calming effects of gazing out over a vast body of open water without the need to spend all day getting there. You can also get out onto the water to go sailing or windsurfing.

The atmosphere at the reservoir varies depending on the weather and season. It is often windy and on stormy days waves form on the water, sending the ducks bobbing and adding to the coastal effect.

Farmoor Reservoir
Geese on the waves


There are actually two reservoirs, separated by a 1 km concrete causeway which you can walk across, surrounded by water as if on a pier. There are three bird hides, including one perched midway along the causeway. Keep an eye out for rare birds breaking up their journey from the arctic or Africa, or just enjoy the antics of familiar ducks and geese.

Farmoor Causeway
Causeway across the water


A paved path runs around the perimeter and across the causeway providing access for wheelchairs and buggies.

The reservoir is adjacent to the River Thames and surrounded by rolling green countryside dotted with woodland. Paths connect to nature reserves stretching along the riverbanks. There is almost no limit to the length of a walk, as you can set off down the 184-mile Thames Path long distance trail towards the source of the Thames, or towards London.

Thames Path Farmoor
Thames Path walking trail


There is plenty of car parking, toilets and a café. Parking is currently free, although signs have announced the intention to introduce charges for some time.
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Why? A whisper of the sea in a landlocked county
When: Every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day
Where: Farmoor Reservoir, Cumnor Road, Oxford, OX2 9NS
Cost: Free
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