Mark Foster / Copywriter

Freeth Mere – Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

Freeth Mere is an unusual habitat because there are no streams or springs running into it. The waters are starved of nutrients, creating a perfect home for water plants of the Stonewort family. One rarity, the Lesser Bearded Stonewort, is the reason for the lake’s SSSI status. Deep in Freeth Mere’s depths, it rubs shoulders with other mysterious fellows, like the Hairlike Pondweed.

Far more easily visible are the many wildfowl that grace the lake. Great Crested Grebe are here all year, but look out for them in February when they perform an over-the-top courtship dance. In the winter months Pintail, one of the fastest flying ducks, as well as Goldeneye and Shoveler join our resident population of Mallard and Coot.

When dusk falls the UK’s smallest bat, the Pipistrelle, appears on the wing. Watch them flitting around the lake, feasting acrobatically on moths and gnats. Together with other species including Daubenton’s Bat, they roost in our special bat boxes, like giant mail-boxes on the far bank.

If you’re lucky you might also glimpse the handsome Hobby. On swift-like wings, this bird of prey hunts the nine species of dragonfly and damselfly attracted to the shallow waters of the lakeshore.

Finally, the damp, wooded edges of the track along the East side of the lake support several orchid species. Among them, the Southern Marsh Orchid pops up purple spikes between May and June, closely followed by the paler, darkly flecked Common Spotted Orchid.

Facts & Figures

Freeth Mere.
  • Area: 37 acres/15ha
  • Depth: 1.5 – 4.0 metres.
  • Activities: boating April – September
  • Coarse fishing 16th June – 14th March.
  • The Western bank is closed between October – March as walkers would disturb the over-wintering wildfowl
  • Non residents, please enjoy the view but stay on the public footpath running along the Northern side of the lake