Birdwatching or birding has been referred to as “nature’s yoga” as it requires complete focus on what you are doing and taking in the world around you. It teaches you to be still and quiet, and lets you become one with the nature around you. The New Forest offers a large area of ancient woodland and heathland that covers approximately 144 square miles, promising a very rewarding trip for the avid birdwatcher.
Located just three miles from Lymington are the Keyhaven marshes. This vast area of mudflats supports large numbers of birds and specialised plants and attracts birdwatchers from all over the world. The salt marsh can be found either side of Lymington River and is of international importance for the breeding, feeding and roosting birds that inhabit the area.
The marshes are owned by Hampshire County Council and gravel paths have been provided to offer birdwatchers and visitors access. There are several well concealed parking areas available, and a ten minute walk from any one will take you to a peaceful spot. If you take a walk along the sea wall, you can also enjoy sensational views of the stunning vistas across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and Hurst Castle.
The fish found in these waters turn the area into a haven for a wide range of bird species including the Black-Headed Gull, Redshank, Cormorant and Oystercatcher. Winter offers a wonderful opportunity to spot woodland species such as Crossbill and Hawfinch as the reduced foliage on the trees makes them easier to find. Merlins and Hen Harriers are lovers of the heath in winter, with the most exciting visitor undoubtedly being the Great Grey Shrike. You can also admire the gathering of Brent Geese and watch the Black-Tailed Godwit and Grey Plover as they bask in the seclusion of the sheltered marshes.
As the weather begins to get warmer you can expect to see Kestrels, Buzzards and Sparrowhawks along with the Honey Buzzard. This large bird of prey can only be seen in a few sites throughout the south of the UK and can be spotted regularly in the New Forest.
If you love birdwatching, why not book yourself a stay with us at our bed and breakfast? We are situated in Lymington, a short drive or walk away from the Pennine Marshes. Whether you are an experienced birder or just a beginner, the Keyhaven marshes are one of the best places to visit in the UK as there is a fantastic amount to see, learn and enjoy.