Accessible nature reserves

Testwood Lakes boardwalk © Ian Cameron-ReidTestwood Lakes boardwalk © Ian Cameron-Reid

We’re keen to make nature as accessible as possible for everyone. Here are some of our nature reserves where we’ve invested in extra facilities to allow people with wheelchairs, buggies or mobility needs to enjoy wildlife too.

Blashford Lakes, near Ringwood

A former series of gravel pits on the edge of the New Forest, Blashford Lakes nature reserve is now a haven for wildlife. Thousands of birds use this site all year round, and with several bird hides, this is a great destination for a wildlife walk any time of year – grab a map from the education centre.

Paths are waymarked and are generally flat and hard surfaced, suitable for pushchairs, wheelchairs and mobility scooters. All hides have ramped access. Two mobility scooters are available for visitors to borrow by arrangement – please contact BlashfordLakes@hiwwt.org.uk or 01425 472760.

Disabled toilet and baby changing facilities are available.

Swanwick Lakes

Once working clay pits, Swanwick Lakes nature reserve is nestled in over 35 hectares of peaceful woodland landscape, surrounded by farmland. Enjoy lovely views over the lakes and wildflower meadows teeming with plants and insects.

Access is open to the majority of the site. There is a network of surfaced paths and three waymarked trails of varying length, as well as informal unsurfaced paths to explore through the woods, around the lakes and over the hill. There are frequent benches and some fantastic viewpoints. Newly upgraded paths behind the education centre provide a suitable space for young or less mobile visitors to access wildlife-focussed activities run by our education staff.

Disabled toilet and baby changing facilities are available.

Testwood Lakes, near Totton

An old industrial site used for gravel extraction, Testwood Lakes’ meadows and woodlands are now home to a wide range of plants and animals, many of which can be enjoyed from a network of surfaced paths.

The site is largely flat but some slopes are present around Testwood Lake and up to the Education Centre. For visitors using a wheelchair or mobility scooter to visit the nature reserve, there are radar locks on all the gates to allow access. If you do not have a radar key, you can borrow one from Testwood Lakes Education Centre during your visit.

An all-terrain wheelchair is available for hire, for a suggested donation of £5. Please contact the centre ahead of your visit to ensure its availability – TestwoodLakes@hiwwt.org.uk or 02380 667929

The Education Centre has a disabled toilet and baby changing facilities available.

Winnall Moors, near Winchester

A short distance from Winchester city centre, Winnall Moors nature reserve is a wetland wildlife haven. The renowned and beautiful River Itchen flows through the length of the reserve, creating wet grassland, reedbeds, wet woodland and streams.

The southern part of Winnall Moors is open access all year round and surfaced flat paths and boardwalks make the reserve accessible to those with mobility needs. There are many benches providing frequent resting places.