Flooded gravel pits and their surrounding habitats host a range of wildlife. An on-site Education Centre is managed by the Wildlife Trust in partnership with Wessex Water, Bournemouth Water and New Forest District Council.
Blashford Lakes is a series of flooded former gravel pits, now used for nature conservation and drinking water storage. The lakes are surrounded by willow, birch and alder woodland, as well as grassland. The reserve attracts thousands of wildfowl in winter as well as bittern and good numbers of woodland birds including redpoll, siskin and brambling.
Wildlife watching is easy with access to six accessible bird hides and a number of “viewing screens” around the site. During the summer months it's a great place to look for adder, grass snake and kingfisher. With 26 species of dragonfly recorded to date, it's also a haven for intervebrates.
Keep up to date with the latest reserve news and wildlife sightings by subscribing to the Blashford Lakes blog.
The Education Centre offers a trail guide and toilets for visitors. 8km of rolled gravel paths give access around the site suitable for all season use by mobility scooters, pushchairs and more robust wheelchairs. Two “Tramper” mobility scooters are also available to borrow by prior arrangement.
You can also go on a Winter Wonders scavenger hunt of your own with our downloadable guide.
Organisers of all guided or self-guided groups to Blashford Lakes must book in advance.
Getting to Blashford Lakes
Blashford Lakes is in the New Forest, situated to the north of Ringwood, download our directions leaflet for instructions on how to find us.
Car: Blashford Lakes is 2 miles north of Ringwood on the A338, turn right (east) onto Ellingham Drove, the reserve entrance is after 500 yards with main car park to the left and Education Centre to the right. The Main car park is at SU151083 and the Education Centre is at SU151079 or postcode BH24 3PJ.
Note to sat nav users: You may be misdirected at the crossroads so follow the written directions as well.
Public Transport: Bus, the X3 Bournemouth-Salisbury service stops at Ellingham Cross 500yds west of the main reserve entrance.
Funding for Blashford Lakes
The Project is funded jointly by the partners. Money for development projects on the wildlife reserve is raised by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust from donations, members, sponsorship and grant aid. The 2014-2015 Annual Report for Blashford Lakes can be downloaded here.
Recent Aided Projects
- 2004/5 Dockens Water Restoration grant aided by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
2005/6 new paths and two new hides grant aided by Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
2007 new paths and three new hides grant aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Hanson Charitable Trust.
2007 construction of a sand martin bank grant aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Hanson Concrete Blocks Ltd.
2008 a new foot bridge and paths grant aided by Rees Jeffries Fund.
2008 a new storage unit and two disability buggies grant aided by Landfill Tax.
2010/11 replace the Ivy South hide, install the webcams, build the education shelter and replace the pond dipping platform grant aided by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.
Species and habitats
- Grassland, Ponds, Standing water, Woodland
- Bittern, Blackcap, Great Crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Lesser Redpoll, Lesser spotted woodpecker, Little Egret, Little Ringed Plover, Nuthatch, Oystercatcher, Reed Warbler, Sand Martin, Siskin, Adder, Grass Snake, Common Frog, Common Toad, Palmate Newt, Smooth Newt, Badger, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer, Greater Horseshoe Bat, Otter, Water Shrew, Silver-washed Fritillary, Golden-ringed Dragonfly, Emperor dragonfly, Hairy dragonfly, Bee Orchid