Just off the A348 and behind the Longham bridge lie two large and quite well hidden lakes. These lakes are primarily used as bankside storage reservoirs and serve as a backup to improve the security of the local public water supply. The reservoirs would supply the locality in the event of exisitng supplies being unavailable for whatever reason.
The A348 is a busy road and parking is difficult. But there are a number of locations nearby where a car can be left. At the end of Millhams Lane near the recycling centre is a small car park used by dog walkers. I undestand that the parking in front of the Bridge House tavern/hotel is also public parking. There is also parking in nearby pubs and the Haskins Garden Centre. I am sure that if you use their facilities for a drink/meal and ask if you can leave the car for an hour or so they will be happy to oblige. But, no guarantees.
There are two different main access points to the lakes. If you are approaching from Ferndown or Haskins then walk down the A348 until you are just past Lamwells Car Sales. Then go up Green Lane. After about 200 yards there is a style on the left that takes you to the back of the Fishing lake.
If you are parked near the bridge then there is a walkway between the houses which takes you through to the main lake. There is also an access lane with parking right near the lakes, but this is only available to license holding fishermen.
The lakes are very close to the river stour and are on the opposite bank to the Longham to Canford Magna stretch of the Stour Valley Way. There is though no direct access to the lakes from the Stour Valley Way.
The main lake is about three times the size of the smaller fishing lake and is a major haven for a very wide variety of bird life. Many birds (especially ducks) make use of a small island within the lake for a safe and secure nesting area during the breeding season.
The lakes are a tranquil setting for a beautiful walk. Be aware though that they are in places over thirty feet deep so do not venture in for a paddle! Although fishing is banned on the main lake several different activities are allowed to take place. If you are lucky you will come across model yacht racing. These fantastic model yachts are minature replicas of the real thing and the racing is just as competitive. I find I can just park myself up on a bench and watch for half an hour or so. It is surprisingly addictive.
There is also a canoe/kayak club that meets (I think) on a weekly basis and of course, there is a large fishing club/community. A club house is available to registered users but not the general public. However contact information for the fishing canoeing and yacht racing are displayed on a poster board.
The thing that surprised me the most was the quiet. Being so close to a busy noisy and smelly road I would have thought would have seriously impacted the area, but (unless I was just plain lucky) somehow the noise did not filter down to the lake banks.
All in all, the lakes at Longham provide an interesting, quiet and peacful walk for a couple of hours. Well worth a visit.