Board walk at Bystock Pools nature reserve

Bystock Pools. Photo, Dave Chamberlain

A lake, heathland and meadows go to make a wonderfully diverse nature reserve.


Access to this Devon Wildlife Trust managed nature reserve/site

We recognise access to nature is hugely important to wellbeing, but at this difficult time, we need to have the health of our staff and the community at the forefront of our mind - including neighbours to our nature reserves. Nature reserve car parks are therefore temporarily closed, and we are asking people not to drive/travel to our sites. For those who live locally and may be accessing sites for the purposes of their daily exercise, we ask that everyone observe government restrictions on outdoor access and ensure guidelines on social distancing are always followed.

Please be aware that key staff will be accessing this site for regular livestock and health and safety checks.

Advice and rules on public access may change. Please keep up to date on the status of access to our sites and also to benefit from lots of great information about our work, about wildlife and about how you can take action for Devon’s stunning natural environment, by visiting and by following us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram

Our work for local wildlife continues and remains as important as ever. To find out more about ways in which you can help and enjoy wildlife at home and how to support our work visit


Bystock Pools
Nr Exmouth
EX8 5EE (gets you close to the reserve's entrance)

OS Map Reference

SY 034 843
A static map of Bystock Pools

Know before you go

27 hectares

Entry fee


Parking information

The car park at the reserve's north entrance is now closed

Grazing animals


Walking trails

Routes around the reserves are clearly marked with paths, allow 1 hour to complete a circular walk


A short access for all path leads around the reservoir, the rest of the reserves has boardwalks and rough paths. Routes around the reserves are clearly marked with paths. Contact the Trust for disabled access information


On a lead

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

All year round

About the reserve

This is one of Devon Wildlife Trust's most popular nature reserves - and it's easy to see why.

Bystock has great variety. Visit and you'll find yourself stopping to take in beautiful views across a lily-pad filled lake, strolling through heathland on boardwalks, and climbing the gentle slopes of a wildflower meadow. 

Contact us

Devon Wildlife Trust
Contact number: 01392 279244

Environmental designation

Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Location map

Golden-ringed dragonfly at Bystock Pools

Golden-ringed dragonfly. Photo, Chris root

Dragonfly heaven

The nature reserve is well-known for its dragonflies and damselflies which in spring and summer dance across the surface of its open water and heathland. Look out for emperor, downy emerald and golden-ringed dragonflies as they fly around you.

Bystock is good for birds too. Head for its heathland to see willow warblers, blackcaps and stonechats. On summer evenings listen for the weird and wonderful calls of nightjars

Look for the light

Summer evenings are also the time to look out for bats at Bystock, and for the lights of glow worms as the females signal for a mate from the grass of the reserve's meadow.

Bystock is cared for by a very active group of local volunteers. Say hello to them as they help to keep this special place in tip-top condition!

Download our new 'mindfulness trail' designed by Clare Carter.

Lily pads on Bystock pools

Photo, Dave Chamberlain

Plan your visit and begin to explore

You can begin to plan your visit to Bystock Pools using our free download nature reserve leaflet. And to plan a longer walk starting at the nature reserve use the Bystock wild walk guide.  

Bystock is also part of the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths. East Budleigh Common and the East Devon Way are within an easy walk. 

Swimming and boating is not permitted at Bystock Pools nature reserve.

TESCO brand logo

Bystock Pool's film, access improvements, interpretation signage and habitat improvements made in 2017 were supported by TESCO bags of help

Bystock Pools nature reserve leaflet

Become a member and support our work

The vital work we do for nature depends on the support of people who care about the future of Devon’s wildlife and wild places.

Become a member