I had high hopes for Farmoor Reservoir. Any walk near water is bound to be good right? Plus, if it’s big enough for sailing, it’s got to be a decent walk. The morning of our walk there was overcast and some rare birds had been sighted so we were really looking forward to it. I glanced at the website to double check that dogs were allowed, which they were as long as they’re kept on leads, so off we went. However, upon arrival, I noticed a restriction sign for dogs. Upon further inspection, dogs are only allowed on the Countryside Walk. Fine, I thought, that should be okay. But as we headed out on the walk, we noticed we were going in the opposite direction of the water. It turns out that dogs are not allowed anywhere near the reservoir. Not even on leads. Grrrrrrr! No rare bird sightings for us. Not only that, but the walk was really muddy and there was some kind of fly infestation that plagued us almost all the way around. I think I sulked for about half the walk, until we got the Thames and saw how beautiful it was.

Farmoor Wildlide walk Reservoir Sailing in Oxfordshire The Thames at Farmoor Wildlife Walk Dogwalk at Farmoor Farmoor Oxfordshire Farmoor Reservoir Farmoor Nature walk at Farmoor

The walk takes you away from the reservoir, along country roads. You pretty much cannot see any of the reservoir throughout the walk. However, there’s a really lovely wetland trail which is well worth visiting. We saw some nesting swans, a heron and some birds of prey. There was a bird hide, but it got burned down so there is restricted access here at the moment, which is a shame. It’s a great place for bird watching, even without the hide.

The final stretch of the walk takes you along the main road, which I really didn’t like and to be honest, it really put me off going there again. I’d happily go to the wetland trail again to do some bird watching but being kept away from the reservoir made me so angry that it’s unlikely that I’ll do the countryside walk again.

The Walk: As dogs are not allowed by the reservoir, the walk goes around the outside of the land owned by Thames Water. Not only that, it takes you out onto the main road and can be very muddy after heavy rainfall.
Cost: Free
Car Park: The car park is huge but not free. I think it costs about £3 when exiting.
Refreshments: No.
Toilets: There are some in the car park and these are the only ones in ‘dog allowed’ zone.

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3 Comments on Dog walks in Oxfordshire – Farmoor Reservoir

  1. I was similarly “had” by the idea of walking my dog around the reservoir. However, I can’t walk 4 miles for medical reasons so chose the 2.7 m part of the walk. I assumed I could walk along the spit that runs between the two halves of the reservoir and get back to the car park. A woman I met told me this wasn’t allowed and I was forced to carry on. It was too far for both me and my puppy and I was exhausted by the time I reached the car park. The main road part was disappointing. They need to improve the signage and I will be contacting the visitor centre.

    • Oh no! That’s so unfair. I hope you and your puppy have recovered. It seems silly that dogs aren’t allowed if they are on a lead. The bit by the main road is so unpleasant. I hope the visitor centre listens. We would go there more often if it was a better walk.

  2. All these places which are not dog friendly is a joke. Our dogs on leads are better behaved than some of the children we encounter at nature reserves. We always pick up any mess they make. What harm can be done on leads.

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