Recreation and conservation
Come and see conservation work in action! This series of former gravel pits is now used for public water supply and recreation as well as conservation.
Located in the Avon Valley, just north of Ringwood, Blashford Lakes provide excellent walking, sailing, water skiing and angling opportunities, while also supporting a wide range of important habitats and species.
This nature reserve covers 360 acres and offers guided and self-guided walks, excellent bird watching opportunities and regular wildlife activities for families. It’s a great place for all the family to enjoy nature, as there’s always plenty to see.
The site is designated as both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is included in the Avon Valley Special Protection Area (SPA), with national and international designations for migratory over-wintering wildfowl.
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust manages the lakes for the benefit of wildlife and people, and this is funded by the management partners – Bournemouth Water, Wessex Water and the New Forest District Council.
Blashford Lakes are located just off the A338 Salisbury road, north of Ringwood. Entrance is free of charge, although donations to support Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) are welcome.
The Blashford Lakes Education Centre, managed by the HIWWT on behalf of the management partners, provides information on the site and its wildlife. It also acts as a base for educational visits by school children and other groups.
The centre is open daily (except Christmas Day) from 9 am to 4.30 pm. During these hours the car park, bird hides and education centre with toilets are open.
Outside these hours the paths are accessible but there is no vehicle access and the hides are closed.
For more information, visit the Blashford Lakes page on the HIWWT website
For the past 10 years HIWWT has been organising ‘Wild Days Out’ in the school holidays for children aged 5 to 12, giving them the opportunity to play, explore discover and learn. Activities include fire lighting, river exploration, tree climbing, and pond dipping. Regular events for families allow children to enjoy and share a similar range of activities with their parents and grandparents throughout the year.
Details and information on how to book on to the walks and activities can be found on the HIWWT website where children's spotting sheets and I-spy hunts for birds and seasonal wildlife are updated each school holiday and are available to download.