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Lower Test

At the head of Southampton Water, this reserve has a variety of coastal and wetland habitats, with a large number of birds and plants

The River Test flows through the Lower Test Marshes before passing to the sea through Southampton Water. The mixture of freshwater and saltwater gives a great range of habitats that is reflected in the large numbers of birds and flowering plants. It is one of the best sites in the country to see kingfishers and overwintering wildfowl regularly use this site. Over 450 species of wildflower have also been recorded here, including Southern marsh- and green-winged orchids.

Getting to Lower Test

This reserve is in the tidal reaches of the Test estuary. Just east of Totton it can be reached from the A35 and the A36.

Car: There is limited on road parking on Testwood Lane near the Salmon Leap Pub (SO40 3BR), with 2 access points onto the reserve via the lane to the left of the pub. Parking and a viewpoint is available at the ‘Old Redbridges', in an unsurfaced lay-by, off the A36 from Totton to Southampton.

On foot: Available to the eastern side of the Reserve, crossing the railway line, at two points on Test Lane (accessed from M271). In the north, pedestrian access is via the kissing gate on the Test Way off Mill Lane. Please check the tide times, as the reserve is not accessible at high tide.

Public Transport: Totton railway station is 0.5 miles from the reserve on the A36.


Explore our nature reserves in the Lower Test Valley with our 5 mile self-guided trail

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust manage our nature reserves for the benefit of wildlife and we would like to thank all of our visitors that take care when walking on our nature reserves. We are working hard to engage with the dog walking community, in particular those that visit our nature reserves with their dog. The Trust’s "Dogs on Reserves" project has produced a leaflet that explains how to act responsibly on our nature reserves, along with some general guidance for dog walking visitors and advice about walking amongst cattle.

Nearby nature reserves

Testwood Lakes
1 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust
Copythorne Common
3 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust
Emer Bog and Baddesley Common
5 miles - Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

0.5 miles from Totton
Please see 'Getting to Lower Test'
Map reference
SU 365 145
Great for...
overwintering birds
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Opening Times
Reserve open at all times; bird hide generally open from 9am to 4pm
156.00 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)
Special Protection Areas (SPA)
Please contact the Trust for disabled access information
Walking information
Test Way public footpath crosses the reserve with sections of boardwalk. Permissive path leads to bird viewing screens and hide in South. Please keep to the path to avoid disturbance to wildlife. Please check the tide times as the reserve is not accessible at high tide.
Roadside parking on Testwood Lane near Salmon Leap Pub, Totton
Dogs must be on lead
Grazing animals
Cattle on site from March to December.
Reserve manager
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
Tel: 02380 424206