Luscombe Valley Nature Reserve

Tranquillity and beauty for the nature lovers amongst us. Pure escapism from the often busy peninsula, with a number of protected plants and animal species.

Discover a hidden gem right in the heart of Sandbanks. Discover protected plants and animal species that are unique to this nature reserve. It’s such a glorious place to visit dream away, dream all day.

Habitat & Wildlife

Home to a number of protected plant and animal species including lizards like Sand Lizards, adders a grass snakes. Birds such as Dartford Warbler and Kingfishers can be found and some make seasonal appearences in the summer such as the Willow Warbler and Whitethroat.

Types of habitat include:

  • Open areas of gorse
  • Grassland
  • Reeds
  • Streams
  • Seasonal ponds on the edge of Poole Harbour
  • Wet woodland

Location

Luscombe Valley Nature Reserve, Shore Road, Poole, UK

Although Sandbanks Beach has thousands of visitors on warm and sunny summer days, for those who want to be alone with their thoughts and are interested in wildlife there are two Nature Reserves just a few minutes away on either side of the beach. These are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (‘SSSIs’) and are protected from development by national and international law.

To the east is Luscombe Valley Nature Reserve. Leave Shore Road at the eastern end of the beach and make your way inland along Shore Road with the harbour on your left. Go over the junction with Haven Road and in a couple of hundred yards you will come to the junction with Brudnell Avenue.

Here there’s a wooden gate and walking through it, a place of complete tranquillity. Luscombe Valley is the home to a number of protected plants and animal species including the rare sand lizards that favour the sandy heathland habitats. Read the information board just to your left which will give you more information about this unique Nature Reserve, then follow the circular trail on the 10 acres of grassland, wetlands and open areas of gorse. You may even see the lizards basking in the midday sun on bare patches of sand and logs and the rustle in the long grass may be a grass snake, very shy and fortunately harmless !

You will see the stream as it flows through the reed beds of the valley into Poole Harbour, with the reeds helping to keep the water clean as they sway to and fro in the gentle breeze. Try your balancing skills along the timber stepping blocks or a stroll on the wooden walkways, which enable you to walk through the wetter areas and keep your feet dry! And when you happen upon one of the wooden benches in the grassland, why not take the opportunity to sit and relax for a while and be at one with Nature.

Listen out for the Willow Warbler, easily spotted when warbling its scratchy song from the top of a gorse stem. And look for the Whitethroat, a medium –sized warbler. It has a long tail that it flicks as it darts rapidly in and out of cover. They both make seasonal appearances in the summer. Also, the Dartford Warbler, a tiny bird with a long tail named after the town of Dartford in Kent that flies at an erratic pace.

If you’re lucky you may see Kingfishers. Look out for a flash of blue as they fly rapidly low over water, occasionally hovering above the water’s surface when it searches for and collects food.

So why not take a leisurely stroll around this hidden gem? Away for the hustle and bustle of the beach just let your worries drift away and listen to the sounds of nature!

If you’re more ambitious then take the Sandbanks Ferry across the harbour mouth to the Studland Heath, another SSSI but occupying several square miles.