Family Fun at Longham Lakes Open Day

On Saturday 30 September Bournemouth Water Leisure, part of South West Lakes Trust, held a Community Open Day at Longham Lakes, near Ferndown. Over 300 people of all ages attended the event and were able to take part in a variety of activities, both on and off the water.


The kayaking and canoeing ‘have a go’ sessions, run by Dorset Ultimate Canoe and Kayak Squad, proved extremely popular as did the stand up paddleboarding run by Matt Loughlin, Centre Manager for Stithians Lake in Cornwall, one of five activity centres run by South West Lakes –

Ringwood & District Anglers Association and Wimborne & District Angling Club provided members of the public with the opportunity to have a go at angling and it was great to see so many youngsters getting involved.

The Longham Birders’ Group ran birdwatching walks throughout the day and spotted a variety of species including a Cattle Egret, which was only the third for the site, lots of wildfowl, a Peregrine, showy Green Woodpeckers and a few Swallows.


Longham is one of Dorset’s newest birding sites and, in its current form, has only been in existence since February 2010 when the large Longham Reservoir South was flooded for the first time. ‘Birdwords’, the official site of Dominic Couzens, natural history writer, has a fantastic blog which focuses on the birdlife at Longham – an excellent read for any keen birdwatcher –

Poole Radio Yacht Club were also kept busy throughout the day with their popular ‘have a go’ sessions and Christchurch and District Model Flying Club’s flying simulator was a huge hit.

With so much on offer visitors to the site quickly built up an appetite and, thanks to the Longham Scouts, were able to enjoy some delicious food from the BBQ, helping to raise funds for their Troop.

Linda McMullen, Business Manager for Bournemouth Water Leisure, said ‘Everyone worked hard to make the day a success. To have such a good turn out on our first open day was brilliant. It was great to see so many people from the local community enjoying the activities provided by the clubs who meet at Longham Reservoirs on regular basis.’

Bournemouth Water Leisure, part of South West Lakes Trust, manages the 2 reservoirs at Longham, a large portion of Christchurch Harbour including lower reaches of the rivers Stour and Avon and works with partners at Blashford Lakes near Ringwood. For more information click here or email

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