Lymington and Keyhaven Marshes Nature Reserve

Keyhaven Seawall & Lagoon, by Bob Chapman

Keyhaven Seawall & Lagoon, by Bob Chapman

Lymington and Keyhaven Marshes Nature Reserve

A coastal reserve offering fantastic views.


Lower Pennington Lane
SO41 8AJ

OS Map Reference

A static map of Lymington and Keyhaven Marshes Nature Reserve

Know before you go

738 hectares

Entry fee

Donations welcome

Parking information

Parking available at Keyhaven Village, Lower Pennington Lane, Lymington Quay and marinas.

Bicycle parking

None on the reserve, some on Hampshire County Council site nearby

Grazing animals

Not on our reserve, but the seawall path from which you view the reserve has grazing cattle and could have ponies.

Walking trails

Please keep off the marshes to avoid disturbing the sea birds. The reserve is an intertidal mudflat and saltmarsh, so access is difficult and potentially dangerous. A network of footpaths on the Hampshire County Council reserve including along the seawall afford views across the marshes.


No direct access onto the marsh, the site can be viewed from the sea wall, which runs around the Hampshire County Council's Lymington and Pennington Marshes reserve. Between Keyhaven and Lymington, the seawall path is accessible from both ends and from Lower Pennington lane - look south to see the reserve.


Assistance dogs only

Guide dogs and Assistance dogs only. Otherwise dogs under control allowed on seawall path beside reserve, but note NO DOGS on the reserve itself

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times.

Best time to visit

Visit in spring to see arriving migrants such as wheatear, swallow, terns. Winter brings large flocks of brent geese, wigeon, pintail, waders.

About the reserve

Lymington and Keyhaven Marshes is a beautiful area of coastline. The internationally important coastal marshes and mudflats are teeming with fish and, as a result, thousands of sea birds and waders flock here.

The Trust leases the offshore coastal marsh and mudflats to help protect this unique and historical coastal habitat.

Covering nearly 740 hectares between the mouth of the Lymington River and the village of Keyhaven, this coastal reserve offers fantastic views across the Solent to Hurst Castle and the Isle of Wight.

Although this is our largest nature reserve, it is not one for exploring but for admiring the stunning vistas.

Visit in the spring to see arriving migrant birds such as wheatear, swallow and tern. Vast numbers of black-headed gull can be found nesting on the islands among the mudflats and open water. Out at sea, cormorant dive for fish beneath the waves.

Listen to the distinctive high-pitched sounds of redshank and oystercatcher as they wade through the marshes, looking for crustaceans, fish and molluscs to feed on.

In summer, discover specialist, salt-tolerant plants among the shingle banks on Hurst Spit. Yellow horned-poppy, sea campion and sea aster flourish here, surviving the salt spray carried on the breeze.

Special Features: 

  • The seawall offers stunning views across the mudflats, where a wealth of different bird species come to feed. In winter, admire the mass gathering of Brent geese, grey plover, dunlin and black-tailed godwit, that all roost and feed in the sheltered marshes.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for hunting birds of prey, including marsh harrier, peregrine falcon and merlin.


Contact us

Jack Medley
Contact number: 01425 472760

Location map

Map key

Map Key