Blashford Lakes nature reserve

Blashford Lakes nature reserve

Covid-19 Update 29/03/2021: Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve is OPEN to visitors daily, with limited facilities.

The Education Centre including the toilets, bird hides and main car park remain closed to the public for the foreseeable future and will remain so until 21st June at the earliest, in line with the Governments Step 4 of it's roadmap out of lockdown.

We are however providing accessible and standard portable toilets for our visitors convenience and comfort.

Visitor parking is available by the Education Centre, on the south side of Ellingham Drove. This car park is open from 9am until 4.30pm.

To help with social distancing we are asking visitors to walk following a one-way system, using passing places cut into the sides of the footpaths to pass others. Please look out for the signage onsite.


Ellingham Drove
BH24 3PJ

OS Map Reference

Main car park: SU151083
Education Centre SU151079
A static map of Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve

Know before you go

159 hectares

Entry fee

Entry by donation – suggested donation £4

Parking information

The main car park is on north side of Ellingham Drove. Education Centre parking is on the south side of Ellingham Drove.

Bicycle parking

At the Education Centre

Grazing animals

New Forest ponies (in the summer)

Walking trails

There are 8km of rolled gravel paths suitable for wheelchairs and electric buggies. Gates are accessible with RADAR keys. Hides have ramped access, but are not suitable for electric buggies.

Public footpaths enter the site from the south (Ringwood) and east (Moyles Court).


09:00-16:30 opening includes car parks hides, Education Centre and toilets. Paths are accessible by foot at all times.

Public Transport

The X3 bus between Bournemouth and Salisbury stops at Ellingham Cross; currently a half hour service in both directions.


Guide dogs only
Other visitors with dogs may park at Moyles Court & from there walk a circular route via the public footpath along the Dockens Water to the permissive footpath between Ivy Lake & Rockford Lake & back via the Avon Valley Long Distance Footpath.


Bird hides
Accessible toilet
Baby changing facilities
Disabled parking
Accessible trails

When to visit

Opening times

Open 9am - 4:30pm every day but Christmas Day.

If the Meterological Office has issued weather warnings we may close the site to ensure visitor safety both during the weather episode and immediately following it until we have undertaken site checks and are satisfied that footpaths are accessible and safe.

All site closures will be posted on the Blashford Lakes Blog: - if in doubt please check this before travelling to the nature reserve.

Best time to visit

This reserve is spectacular in the winter, when huge flocks of overwintering birds fly onto the lakes to roost. Spring is a great time to see warblers and the wild daffodils in flower. Summer for observing many dragonfly species.

About the reserve

A beautiful patchwork of wildlife rich habitats.


It’s hard to believe that Blashford Lakes nature reserve used to be a series of lifeless gravel pits when you consider the brilliant array of wildlife it now supports. The woodlands, lakes and grasslands at Blashford hum with life and vitality, attracting a plethora of wild birds such as redpolls, bitterns, bramblings and kingfishers. 


With six bird hides and 8km of rolled gravel paths, bird-watching has never been easier. Up to 5,000 birds can been seen at Blashford Lakes during the winter - some birds travel all the way from Scandinavia to spend their winters here! Common terns, lapwings and oyster catchers are often seen feeding on the lakes.

During the spring you may be lucky enough to catch a starling murmuration. Summer is also an excellent time to visit; great clouds of dragonflies and damselflies sparkle like jewels in the sun and bluebells and daffodils carpet the woodland floor. Blashford Lakes is a wonderful place to visit, whether you’re a veteran birder, a keen walker or simply enjoy being among nature.

Blashford Lakes has its very own Education Centre, a hive of activity and learning, fully equipped with a large classroom, toilet facilities and two mobility scooters which can be hired out by prior arrangement. We have reviewed our COVID-19 precautions and are open for booked groups to visit us in line with current Government guidance. To find out more, please visit the Blashford Lakes Education Centre webpage.

Download the trail guide

Contact us

Bob Chapman
Contact number: 01425 472760

Environmental designation


Location map