Poole Tourism
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Nature and Wildlife

Our area is packed with stunning wildlife, rich in diversity and well worth seeing.

Wildlife montageWatch the birdies - live webcam of the birds of Poole Harbour or take a walk along Poole's beaches - there's so much see - download the leaftlet attached to discover the wealth of wildlife or visit birdsofpooleharbour.

Covering coast, ancient woodland, forest, heathland and chalk downland the 'Guide to Nature in Rural Dorset' where you will see an amazing variety of wildlife including reptiles, wading birds, rare plants and wild New Forest Ponies.
Dorset is an area of outstanding nature beauty.

Explore Brownsea Island the home of the red squirrel -now open for special winter and early spring weekends giving the perfect opportunity to see birds, discover wildlife or simply be out in the fresh air enjoying beautiful surroundings - there is so much to see in the harbour and island.  You may also see Sika Deer.

The best way to see the wildlife is to visit a reserve, attend an event, let the RSPB introduce you to Arne , go to a heathland area and/or walk with an experienced guide or just meander along one of the many trails in the area. Make a date with nature!

Dorset Wildlife Trust manage over 100 hectares of the largest island in Poole Harbour. The first little egrets to breed in Britain nest here. The showpiece is the lagoon, with large flocks of waders, including avocets and black-tailed godwits from autumn to early spring, as well as flocks of spectacular spoonbills. In the summer, watch nesting common and sandwich terns. Red squirrels are visible all year with autumn being the easiest time to spot them. Take the nature trail around the best of the wildlife habitats and hides, visit the Villa Wildlife Centre and see for yourself.   
Open from March to November (National Trust Charges apply plus boat fare from Poole Quay and reserve entrance fee.

Whatever the season it's a fantastic time to see something; whether it's a riot of colour when the heather blooms on the heath lands, the autumn colours of the New Forest when the pigs are out foraging for the fallen acorns (but beware as they can be aggressive so view from a safe distance!) or seeing the harbour wintering birds make their appearance.  Make a date with nature and take a bird boat and let them introduce you to the spectacular views of feeding avocets and other waders.

Inland from the World Heritage Coast and to the south and west of Salisbury Plain and the New Forest lies the wonderfully varied scenery of rural Dorset, offering a variety of different habitats for plants and wildlife.  

Remember plants don't just grow on land - you can discover all sorts of fascinating plants and algae in the sea too. There's lots to do along the Dorset coast, have fun rockpooling, dolphin watching or find out more at a marine centre. Boat trips, kayaking and coastal walks give access to limestone cliffs inhabited by breeding birds and you may be lucky enough to see dolphins.
Why not try snorkelling at Kimmeridge Bay's rocky limestone reefs or try diving at Swanage Pier.

Visit the Heathlands Facebook page to see whats happening in Poole.

Canoeing in Poole Harbour

Canoeing in Poole Harbour Leaflet has been produced to help canoeists enjoy the harbour safely while increasing awareness of bird sensitive areas and how they can minimise the disturbance to important species while appreciating the wildlife. It was funded by Natural England and the RNLI, supported by the Poole Harbour Steering Group and was produced by the Dorset Coast Forum with the input of many organisations including Birds of Poole Harbour, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Dorset Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Borough of Poole and the Poole Harbour Canoe Club.

2017 - A new website about Poole Harbour Rocks Marine Conservation Zone has been launched by Dorset Wildlife Trust, with high quality audio visual images, to allow users to ‘dive-in’ and explore Poole Rocks Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) and discover its wondrous and colourful marine life (just outside Poole Harbour). https://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/poole-rocks

See more information about wildlife in and around Poole.