For my latest suggestion of places to go for a day out I’m going to turn to what I call the New Forest’s best kept secret – mainly because I’d never heard of it until a couple of years ago.
The lakes provide a number of habitats for birds, and the six hides (one in woodland and five overlooking different parts of the lakes) provide perfect spots for observing the wildlife – or just enjoying the tranquil views.
The hides are connected by well-maintained parks (8 km of them if you are planning to walk round the entire site) and there is open space suitable for picnics.
Don’t worry if you know nothing about birds
Don’t worry if you know nothing about birds – there are usually friendly and helpful birds-watchers who are happy to explain what you are seeing.
They may not even giggle (not out loud, anyway) if you ask “that one that looks like an emu – is that the heron?”, as my sister did. Though she did have a point – it was and it did.
Take your binoculars; take your camera; take the time to sit and wait, and see how many different birds (and other wildlife) you can spot.
You will find yourself immensely relaxed by the experience.
Address: Ellingham Drove, Ringwood, BH24 3PJ
Distance (approx.): 25 miles; 30 minutes
Opening Times: Every day except Christmas day 9:00 to 4:30
Admission Price: Free entry (but this doesn’t meant that it is free to run. Please be generous with your donations)
Visit Time: as long as you like. You could spend one hour and visit only one or two hides, or several hours and visit all the hides.
Website: Blashford Lakes
Disclaimer: these details are (probably) correct at time of writing. Please check website before visiting for variations in opening times and for information on facilities provided.
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