Discover exciting wildlife in this fascinating reserve with a prehistoric past. The pine forest, heathland, cliffs and seagrass beds provide homes for plentiful wildlife. Buildings remain from the site’s former use as a naval training base, are evident among the trees and are now used as an Education Centre.
Bouldnor Forest is a great place to spot all sorts of wildlife, but especially our famous red squirrels.
Wander along the forest tracks between the pine trees to look and listen for unusual birds such as crossbill, goldcrest and raven. You may glimpse the iconic red squirrel leaping from branch to branch. With no introduced grey squirrels on the Island, their smaller cousin thrives here. In spring along the coast path, discover heathland rarities that brighten the restored clay heaths, such as pale dog-violet, heath dog-violet and cyperus sedge.
By summer bell heather is in its full glory. Look out for the strange parasitic dodder – it has no leaves, only pink thread-like stems and dense heads of white and pink flowers. Down on the beach, small fossils can be found among the pebbles. Out across the busy Solent, as the boats pass by, take in the stunning views of the New Forest coast.
The reserve is 38 hectares in size. The surfaced forestry tracks are usually dry. Unsurfaced public footpaths can be muddy when wet. The coastal path is on a gentle slope. There is one wide gate to enter reserve and one within the reserve. Booking is essential if you are organising a self-led group or a school or community group.
We would like to thank all of our visitors that take care when walking on our nature reserves. We are working hard to engage with the dog walking community, in particular, those that visit our nature reserves with their dog.
Getting to Bouldnor Forest
Car: From Yarmouth take A3054 towards Newport for ½ km. A car park is on left.
Parking: Park at Bouldnor Viewpoint car park (Grid Ref: SZ 366 898) and take the coastal footpath into the reserve.
For courses or events run at the Bouldnor Forest Centre, park at SZ 378 903. This is the location shown on the map below.
Public transport: Take No. 7 bus (Southern Vectis) from Yarmouth or Newport. Ask for Bouldnor Forest stop on A3054.