Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve
Know before you go
Entry feeDonations welcome – suggested donation £4
Parking informationThe main car park is on north side of Ellingham Drove. Education Centre parking is on the south side of Ellingham Drove.
Bicycle parkingThere is a bike rack at the Education Centre
Grazing animalsNew Forest ponies (in the summer)
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).
Free access within opening hours (09:00-16:30), including hides, Education Centre and toilets. Paths are accessible outside opening hours.
The X3 bus between Bournemouth and Salisbury stops at Ellingham Cross; currently a half hour service in both directions.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen 9am - 4:30pm every day but Christmas Day.
Best time to visitThis reserve is spectacular in the winter, when huge flocks of overwintering birds fly onto the lakes to roost. Spring is also a great time to visit, when warblers are singing and the daffodils are in bloom.
About the reserve
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 amongst 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. To find out more, please visit the Blashford Lakes Education Centre webpage.
News from Blashford Lakes
Today may have been the last day of April, but it felt more like the last day of January!
Ringing the Changes
Reserves Officer Bob writes with the latest springtime changes at Blashford Lakes nature reserve
The last few days have seen warm sunshine by day but chilly nights, meaning it has been poor for moths but good for day-flying insects…