The recommended walks around Fleet Pond are marked by colour-coded posts (see also the map above) and introduce a selection of wildlife habitats. Please keep to the well-used paths.
Short Walk (Red Markers) 1km
The Red Route will take you past The Dry Heath, one of the two open heathland areas, along wood-land paths. The Route visits Boathouse Corner with its fishing jetty designed for wheelchair use and the Picnic Site with a good view of the lake, the fringing reedbed and the open marsh. Please note that the section of path between Boathouse Corner and the Picnic Site is a woodland walk with many tree roots to trip the unwary.
Medium Walk (Yellow Markers) 3km
This route takes a full circuit of the lake. The northern and western footpaths are suitable for wheelchairs and children carriers in all but the wettest weather. Excellent views of the lake can be had from the northern and north-western footpaths and from Chestnut Grove landing stage. The path crosses Brookly Stream, one of the two feeder streams into the lake. The oldest section of Fleet Pond’s woodlands, at Sandhills, has good specimens of oak and Scots pine. A carpet of bluebells appears in early spring. Coldstream Glade attracts butterflies, bees and other insects and Sandy Bay is a popular spot for people, with informal seats and good views. At Sandy Bay, the Gelvert Stream, enters the lake. Near Westover Road access point, you will pass through an open glade and, on a warm sunny day, smell the pungent aroma of bog myrtle.
Long Route (Blue Markers) 4km
This follows the Yellow Route but extends to include Brookly Wood and Wood Lane Heath. Brookly Wood was once a private garden and contains some of the Reserve’s best beech trees. There are also “exotics” here: bamboo, rhododendron and laurels. The footpath through Brookly Wood is narrow and can be very muddy in winter. Wood Lane Heath is a moist heath. Late July and August are the best times to see the heather in flower. The footpath skirts the heath and is informal but firm.
Fleet Pond is the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire. The nature reserve has 141 acres of varied habitats including heathland, woodland, reedbed and marsh, and is home for many species of birds. This walk takes a full circuit of Fleet Pond and offers excellent views. The path crosses Brookly Stream, one of the two feeder streams into the lake and passed by the oldest section of Fleet Pond’s woodlands which has good specimens of oak and Scots pine. The perfect walk for capturing those autumnal colours on your camera.
Route distance: 2.5 miles
Start point: Fleet Pond Car Park
You can find detailed information on a variety of walks around Fleet Pond here.
If you’re taking your camera, why not consider entering the Fleet Pond Society photographic competition? The theme this year is
This year’s theme is a “warts and all” celebration of all aspects of Fleet Pond Nature Reserve from the beautiful to the still eye-catching but not so cute. This interesting theme leaves a lot to your imagination and interpretation!
For general inspiration, here are some great photos of different aspects of Fleet Pond that have been posted on Twitter over the last six months (see the FPS Twitter feed here for these and many other interesting photos):
Graph of Footfall Figures at Fleet Pond for 2016 (Click To Enlarge)
Answer: A lot more than you might imagine!
Colin Gray, Chairman of Fleet Pond Society, writes:
“Hart Rangers have provided me with the full year footfall figures for Fleet Pond as recorded at the six monitoring points (see legend on graph above plus map here).
They make interesting reading and there is one oddity and one that bucks the general trend. Most monitor points follow a similar trend over the year, but Coldstream Culvert shows an unusual drop in March, April and June. Boat House track bumbles along as one of the lowest until a sudden increase in September, drops in the next two months and then becomes one of the highest in December.
Picnic entrance is one of the two lowest all year, indicating perhaps that most walkers use the lower track?
What is very clear is the numbers of people using Fleet Pond every month. Back a decade when we had a Farnborough Sixth Form student take a survey over a shorter few months, his figures estimated approximately 4,000 to 5,000 a month in peak months.All but two monitor points show the numbers are now well in excess of that estimate every month.
Animportant point to note is that the monitors record every movement past the monitor, so it includes those who walk, jog, run or walk dogs more than once a day or do more than one circuit of the pond. For example a jogger might pass the monitor three or more times in one day. Although these might swell the figures, they do have an impact on the path network, so it makes sense to include them when assessing impact on path maintenance and potential disturbance.
There is no denying just how popular and valuable Fleet Pond is to people and their health.”
You can read the interesting things that visitors say about taking walks around Fleet Pond via TripAdvisor here.
Officially recognised as a site of special scientific interest, Fleet Pond is a wonderful location for Hampshire daters who enjoy spotting different species of butterflies, birds and other wildlife. Access is easy with a train station close by, and there’s even a picturesque picnic area for an inexpensive alfresco meal.
Also, take a look at TripAdvisor for some recent reviews.