Blashford Lakes nature reserve

Blashford Lakes nature reserve

Covid-19 Update: Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve is OPEN to visitors for local outdoor exercise only.

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.


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

Donations welcome – 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

There is a bike rack 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).


Free access within opening hours (09:00-16:30), including hides, Education Centre and toilets. Paths are accessible outside opening hours.

Public Transport

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


Guide dogs only
Guide dogs and Assistance dogs only. Dogs are permitted on short length of public right of way within the reserve and on one permissive route between Ivy lake and Rockford lake – see on-site signage.


Bird hides
Disabled toilet
Baby changing facilities

When to visit

Opening times

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

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 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.

Download the trail guide

Contact us

Bob Chapman
Contact number: 01425 472760

Environmental designation


Location map