The New Forest National Park is a unique landscape of ancient woodland, heather-covered heath, wide lawns, boggy mires, gentle farmland, coastal saltmarsh and mudflats and picturesque villages. The National Park contains 26 miles of unspoilt tranquil coast, with great views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. The following places offer good access to the coast: Lepe Country Park, Calshot Activity Centre, Calshot Castle, Hurst Castle and Spit, Lymington and Keyhaven Nature Reserve.
The so-called 'Langstone Oyster Beds' lie in the north eastern corner of Langstone Harbour, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Ramsar Wetlands site. The Harbour is home either permanently or on a migratory basis for tens of thousands of seabirds, which find that the thousands of hectares of intertidal mudflats contain a massive assemblage of marine invertebrate life.
Farlington Marshes is the Hamsphire and Wight Trust’s oldest wildlife reserve. It is 125 hectares (308 acres) of flower-rich grazing marsh on the northern shore of Langstone Harbour between Portsmouth and Havant. Farlington is internationally important for the bird populations that it supports, as well as being a blaze of colour in spring and summer with many flowers and butterflies.
Hampshire County Council purchased this beautiful area of coastline between 1973 and 2006 to protect its unique historical and and wildlife heritage. The reserve covers nearly 200 Ha (500 acres) between the mouth of the Lymington river and the village of Keyhaven. You can obtain good views of the marshes and their wildlife from the Solent Way which runs the length of the reserve. There are also several attractive circular walks on local footpaths which cross the area.
This is a nationally renowned nature reserve, celebrated as a winter refuge for ducks, geese and wading birds, and summer breeding ground for the rare Avocet. The hides provide spectacular views of the wildlife and a network of paths and boardwalks take you through a rare, unspoilt landscape.
Newtown Harbour National Nature Reserve is on the northern coast of the Isle of Wight and comprises areas of estuary and foreshore with extensive mudflats and saltmarsh, together with adjacent meadows and woodland. Newtown Harbour NNR is owned and managed by the National Trust. The Trust also owns many of the buildings in Newtown village. The estuary is probably the best example of an undisturbed natural harbour on the south coast.
The North Solent NNR is south of the New Forest and comprises the lower reaches of the Beaulieu River where it drains into The Solent, it covers 820ha. The reserve also includes large areas of adjoining meadow, woodland and heath. Due to the sensitivity of many habitats within the NNR, access to the reserve is restricted to public rights of way. Access to other areas is by permit only.