Over the summer, the Canal & River Trust has been celebrating National Fishing Month (which actually runs between 21 July – 3 September 2017), encouraging people up and down the country to get out in the fresh air, sit back and cast a line into the water. One place you can do this in the South East is Tring Reservoirs on the Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire border.
Tring Reservoirs are made up of four reservoirs – Wilstone, Startops, Marsworth and Tringford – built between 1800 and 1838 to supply water to the Grand Union Canal. They are famous for their monster tench that can weigh in at up to 14lbs!
Wilstone is the largest and is stocked with tench, bream, perch and pike. A record catfish was caught here in 1970, weighing a staggering 43lb 8oz. It’s on display at the National History Museum in Tring, which was built in 1889 to house the zoological collections of Walter Rothschild – a truly fascinating place.
Wilstone also rose to fame when it became the first nesting site in the country for black-necked grebes in 1918. It still remains one of the best birdwatching spots in southern England where you can see ringed plovers, corn bunting, whimbrel and wood sandpiper, as well as large numbers of wintering wildfowl such as shoveler, teal, goldeneye and goosander; occasionally smew. There are even sightings of bitterns in winter.
For keen walkers, there’s an extensive network of footpaths around the reservoirs and towpaths along the Grand Union. Once you’ve worked up an appetite you can call in at Bluebells Tearooms, housed in an 18th century lock keeper’s cottage. It serves loose leaf teas and imaginatively flavoured cakes (pear and walnut and ginger crumb, yes please!), all freshly made.
There’s also the Anglers Retreat by Startops, a traditional pub and B&B perfectly situated for walkers, boaters and anglers. Perhaps you can celebrate your catch of the day there on a Thursday night, when they host live music.
There’s a car park at the entrance to the reservoirs. The nearest train station is in Tring.
Tring Reservoirs are managed by the Canal & River Trust. To find out more about fishing here, visit the dedicated page on our website.