Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Res.
The Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Reserve is an area of outstanding beauty and is made up of lagoons, reeds beds, salt marsh and mud flats. It supports a number of vulnerable plants and rare species and provides rich feeding grounds for a wide variety of birds, particularly during the spring and autumn migrations. The lagoons support nationally important breeding populations of little terns. There are also some excellent views across the solent to the Isle of Wight.
Hampshire County Council had the foresight to purchased this area of coastline between 1973 and 2006 to protect its unique historical and wildlife heritage. The reserve covers an area of 500 acres, between the mouth of the Lymington river and the village of Keyhaven. The adjacent mudflats and salt marshes outside the seawall are leased by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and form their Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes Reserve.
  Salt history
The coastline also has great historic significance. During the 18th century, Lymington was the biggest producer of sea salt in the country. The area between Lymington and Keyhaven was completely industrialised in the production of salt, with the greatest concentration of activity in the Oxey and Pennington marsh areas. Try to picture the countryside as it was then - with evaporating ponds for as far as the eye could see and billowing smoke from the boiling houses. There would have been boats delivering coal and taking away the salt, the air would have been thick with white salt dust and there would have been countless small windmills pumping the brine into the boiling houses.
The common waders seen all year round are the, Curlew Dunlin Little Egret Oystercatcher Redshank Ringed Plover and with regular migrants such as the Ruff Little Stint Curlew Sandpiper Greenshank and the Green Sandpiper at the end of the summer. Wildfowl in good numbers during winter include, Canada Goose Brent Goose Mallard Pintail Shelduck Shoveler, Red-Breasted Merganser Teal and Wigeon with divers and grebes as regular visitors. Other regular birds include the Avocet Kingfisher Lapwing Grey Plover Golden Plover and a large breeding colony of Black-Headed Gulls
Managed by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust under lease from New Forest District Council. Tel:01590 674656 Hantsweb
In Lymington, walk along Bath Road, past the yacht clubs, around the Seawater Swimming Pool and through the Haven Marina, from there a gate leads you onto the coastal footpath. Streetmap
In Keyhaven, walk east around the harbour until you come to a gate leading to the coastal path. Streetmap
There are large car parks in both Keyhaven and Bath Road, Lymington.
At the Lymington end there is a cafe in the Haven Marina, in Keyhaven there is the Gun Inn and on Milford on Sea beach the Needle Eye Cafe.
Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Reserve map