Bystock Pools

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.


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. Parking is available in the road at the south entrance by the reservoir (OS map SY034 843).

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. 


NOTICE: If you are visiting our reserves, please note that there have been instances of H5N1 Avian bird flu found in birds in Devon. There is very low risk to public health but we do ask that if you come across any unusual or unexplained bird deaths on or near our reserves please do not touch them. Call Defra on 03459 33 55 77 and report your findings. Please also report your findings to DWT by email at

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. 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.

New information panel on local wildlife, installed at Bystock Pools

Thanks to support from the East Devon AONB Communities Project Fund, sections of the boardwalk and handrail were repaired around the Bystock Pools, with a new panel on local wildlife!

Communities Project Fund East Devon AONB logo

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