Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve
Please note facilities are limited - the Education Centre including the toilets, bird hides and main car park remain closed to the public and the portable toilets are no longer available.
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.
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
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. To find out more, please visit the Blashford Lakes Education Centre webpage.
Forthcoming events at Blashford Lakes
News from Blashford Lakes
Making space for sand martins
At Blashford Lakes nature reserve, our special sand martin banks are giving these charismatic birds the space they need to thrive.
A Pond (more or less)
As we continue our improvement works at Blashford Lakes, a new dipping pond begins to take shape.
What is a Welcome Hut without the welcome? We are now recruiting a small team of Welcome Volunteers
You may have been following the recent, exciting developments with Blashford Lakes nature reserve’s ongoing face lift. One of the…