Arne Nature Reserve in makes for a truly unmissable and inexpensive day out for anyone in the area. The RSPB reserve is packed with lots to see, do and explore, and comes equipped with many essential facilities such as toilets, a cafe, a shop and disabled parking. It’s a firm favourite with guests staying with us at South Lytchett.
Entry to the reserve is completely FREE! However, parking costs from around £5, but isn’t much for a whole day of family fun and adventure. When travelling from us at South Lytchett Manor, the reserve can be reached after a short 20 minute drive, so getting there is straightforward.
Whilst on your visit, you can expect to see a huge amount of many different types of wildlife going about their day. Some notable star species to be on the lookout for include the rare Spoonbill water bird, Dartford Warbler and the Nightjar. Not to mention Sika deer which you can see in herds during Autumn which is the rutting season. The reserve is also only one of few locations where all 6 native UK reptiles can be found and features over 5 kilometres in epic wood and heathland to explore.
When visiting the nature reserve during the Autumn season, you can expect to find lots of these lovely long necked guys roaming the woodland. They are commonly known as Siki Deer, but are also referred to as Spotted and Japanese deer
As mentioned, RSPB Arne is only one of few locations where all 6 UK reptile species can be found in the same location. These are:
- Adder. Generally known as a shy and non-aggressive creature, the Adder, or viper as it is sometimes called, is the only venomous reptile in the UK.
- Grass snake. The largest, non-venomous snake in UK, weighing in at 94 grams.
- Smooth snake. A non-venomous, rare snake that resides in the UK’s heathland.
- Common/viviparous lizard. Often with a dark stripe that runs along the back, this lizard is grey to dark brown, and gives birth to live young.
- Sand lizard. The rare European sand lizard is a protected Species in the UK due to the destruction of its sandy heathland habitat.
- Slow worm. Varying from brown, grey, and bronze, the slow worm is a legless lizard and can sometimes be mistaken as a snake.
In 2016, the area featured in episode 2 of the BBC television series Autumn Watch, where they took a closer look into the reptiles of the area. The following video is worth a watch!
You’ll hear them before you see them! Chirping away in the reserve’s woodland you’ll find lots of little nests which is home to roughly 250 species and 55 families of birds that reside there. From Herrons to the rare Hen Harrier, make sure to be on the lookout for these guys in on the water and darting through the sky.
The reserve is situated on Poole harbour and features over 5 kilometres of wood and heathland to indulge in. With the many varying nature trails on offer, taking in and exploring the reserve is made easy and is tailored towards its visitors.
There are a total of 7 signposted trails in the reserve and are all of varying capability and accessibility, so you’re bound to find something that suits you and the family for a leisurely stroll.
These 7 walking trails are categorised into 2: The Shipstal and the Coombe trails, which range from shorter blue easy access trails (30 mins) to the longer red trails (90 mins). The walking trails are very popular amongst visitors as they take you on a comprehensive tour of what the reserve has to offer in its beautiful scenery and natural wildlife.
Kids Play Park
When it comes to letting your own little beasties escape into their own world, the kids play park does that perfectly. The rope swing and the tall wooden climbing wall make for some great fun for the kids and even those daring adults.
After a whole day of walking, nature spotting and sightseeing, sit down, relax and recharge in the reserve’s cafe, which is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm.
The cafe offers a wide range of food and drink. From tea and coffee with an essential accompanying cake or biscuit to wholesome lunches, there’s something at the cafe to satisfy every appetite. All food served is made with fresh local produce and there’s even vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options, too!
With everything that Arne Nature Reserve has to offer, we think that a day out here is a must for anyone that’s staying with us. We hope you enjoy your day getting back to nature, let us know how it goes!