Wed 25 Jan 2017

Penny is a big fan of the Stour Valley Nature Reserve and we asked her to let us know why.  Here is what she said:-

"Stour Valley Nature Reserve is a hidden gem located just off the car park in Granby Road in Muscliff. The Kingfisher Barn Visitor Centre was opened in May 2016 and is run in partnership with Bournemouth Borough Council and the RSPB. There is a classroom inside the centre along with an interpretation area, which helps you to discover the Stour Valley Nature Reserve. The Visitor Centre is open from 10am till 4pm Tuesday till Sunday and you can also join the RSPB here and buy refreshments.

The reserve has a Green Flag and includes a two-mile stretch of riverside footpath and meadows, hedgerows and woodland. There are guided walks throughout the year day and night, which are led by the rangers. There is a very interesting arboretum, which is filled with trees from around the globe, which are labelled and form part of a trail. There is livestock that has been placed in certain areas to look after the natural habitat in a environmentally friendly way. The wildlife garden is just outside the Visitor Centre and includes a wildlife pond, bug hotels and willow sculptures - there is a big wildflower area being developed for this spring and summer.

There is so much to do at Stour Valley Nature Reserve!   There is a local craftsman who carves all the wonderful figures that you see dotted around the area and he will also do private wood sculptures if required. There is a jetty being put in to enable wheelchair users to fish on the river as well and there will be special vantage points put in place so disabled people can view the area safely.

The scenery is quite breathtaking at any time of the year, as well as the regular dog walkers lots of people just come to walk and jog also there a specific parts that cyclists can use too. The local wildlife really is worth spotting, as there are so many different varieties of wild birds ranging from the blue tit to the elusive kingfisher. If you are very lucky you may catch the kingfisher in flight, but you will need to be quick.  In the water there is a chance that you might spot the otters about too. There are so many things that you can do for the day from river and pond dipping to wild arts club and also in the evenings there are guided walks to spot the wildlife at night from the bats to the owls and deer and foxes. In the summer there are newts lizards slowworms and lots of beautiful dragonflys butterfly’s and moths.

The area is awash with colour in the summer with a stunning display of flowers and fauna and the best thing is this is all free. I am so looking forward to the spring when the evenings are lighter and I can once again go and borrow my friends dog and explore this delightful area that’s on my doorstep"