Set apart from the rest of the Dinton Pastures lakes, to the north of Sandford Lane, Lavell’s Lake has been the prime focus of FOLL’s conservation activities from the 1980s. There is no angling and there is no access to the lake shore. However, hides at the east end (Bittern hide) and west end (Teal hide) provide good views over almost all of the water and shoreline.
Bittern hide overlooks a scrape bordered on one side with a Phragmites reed bed. In winter both Snipe and Jack Snipe may be seen and this is the best spot for seeing the Water Rails that are present much of the year. In spring and autumn, the mud is used by passage waders, particularly Common and Green Sandpipers. In summer, depending on water levels, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Little Ringed Plover may sometimes be seen. Across the lake from the scrape a large reedbed often holds one or two Bittern in the winter. Rafts have been put on the lake in front of the hide for breeding Common Terns, though Black-headed Gulls now largely dominate.
The path to Bittern hide passes a small reed-bed that has sometimes attracted Bearded Tits in winter. The path also provides the visitor with views over a wet meadow with a Barn Owl box, in which owls may sometimes be seen.
Teal hide overlooks a smaller scrape, now often covered by the invasive Crassula helmsii. In late winter, large numbers of Teal congregate here and can be heard displaying from a considerable distance. An artificial Sand Martin bank is sited close to the hide and, perhaps because of this, Hobbies may often be seen in the summer.
Reed, Sedge and Cetti’s Warblers breed in the reeds and scrub around the north side of the lake and Nightingales can sometimes be heard singing on the island.