Skip to main content

Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake in winter
Horseshoe Lake, which covers about 22 acres and is named after its horseshoe-shaped island, lies about half a mile to the west of Sandhurst.

Originally part of an extensive network of working gravel pits that have now been flooded, this site now occupies an attractive setting in the Blackwater Valley and is a popular venue for those who enjoy dinghy sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, birdwatching and walking.

Horseshoe Lake is featured on Great Places for Circular Walks.


The centre is dedicated to the concept of ‘watersports for all’. Dinghy sailing, windsurfing, dragon boating, canoeing and raft building are among the activities taking place here. For general enquiries telephone Freetime Leisure on 01252 871808 or visit Horseshoe Lake Watersports Centre.

There is plenty of opportunity for a stroll beside Horseshoe Lake. A bridleway runs along the northern boundary and a clear path circumnavigates the lake, providing very pleasant views of the site and the surrounding countryside.

How to get to Horseshoe Lake

By car

The main access by car into the site is from Mill Lane. There are 2 small car parks, one of which serves the watersports centre. The postcode is GU47 8JW. 

Limited disabled access (such as for wheelchairs) is available from the car park.

By foot or bike

There are pedestrian accesses from Mill Lane, Lower Sandhurst Road and the riverside path. Cycling is permitted on the riverside path, and horse riding on the permitted bridleway.

Park management

Horseshoe Lake is a superbly resourced centre, provided by Bracknell Forest Council and managed by Freetime Leisure.

It is a public open space currently undergoing enhancement works as a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace in order to create an enjoyable natural environment for recreation, away from the Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area.


The site is home to a wide variety of birds, including winter visitors and breeding birds. You can find a large variety of waterfowl on the lake particularly during the winter. During the summer, house martins, swallows and swifts can often be seen swooping for insects. The barn owl, a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and also listed on the local Biodiversity Action Plan, is also known to inhabit the site.

Other wildlife includes:

  • several species of grasshoppers and crickets
  • 12 species of dragonflies
  • 18 species of butterflies

These invertebrates depend on the range of habitats present, including open water, marginal shallows, shingle, bare ground, rough grassland and patches of developing scrub. Cattle can be also be seen grazing along the banks of the lake at certain times of year.

Photo credit: Horseshoe Lake at Sunset image courtesy of David Robins.