100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 77 – Kingfisher Barn

Kingfisher Barn is a Visitor Centre in the Stour Valley Nature Reserve, a two mile stretch of riverside footpaths on the north-west edge of Bournemouth. The reserve is abundant with flora and fauna with over 400 species of plants plus plenty of wildlife, such as kingfishers, otters and dragonflies.

Welcome to Stour Valley Nature Reserve
Welcome to Stour Valley Nature Reserve

Visitor Centre

The Visitor Centre provides maps and other information plus refreshments (drinks, cakes and ice cream). The centre opens daily from 10 am. There is plenty of free parking adjacent to the centre.

Kingfisher Barn Visitor Centre
Kingfisher Barn Visitor Centre

The centre is also home to a wildlife garden and pond. It organises a range of activities for children and adults throughout the year. For adults there are guided walks, the chance to learn new skills such as willow weaving plus opportunities to volunteer with tasks such as hedge laying. For children there are guided walks, activities such as pond dipping and craft sessions on offer.

Kingfisher Barn Wildlife Garden
Kingfisher Barn Wildlife Garden

From here, there are a series of three trails you can follow along the banks of the River Stour.

Stour Valley Nature Reserve
Stour Valley Nature Reserve

Dragonfly Trail

Take the path from the Visitor Centre to the riverside, then turn right to follow the Dragonfly Trail. This 1.2 mile long loop heads east along the river and back through the aboretum. Here, you may encounter one of the reserve’s 17 species of dragonflies/damselflies.

Stour Valley Nature Reserve
Stour Valley Nature Reserve

Pollinator Trail

Take the path from the Visitor Centre to the riverside, then turn left to follow the Pollinator Trail. This 3.5 mile long loop goes west along the river as far as Cherry Tree Nursery and back through wildflower meadows which provide nectar for pollinating insects.

Stour Valley Nature Reserve

Butterfly Trail

An extension to the Pollinator Trail is to continue along the river for the 4 mile long Butterfly Trail, this turns and returns to the Pollinator Trail via the Paddock. Here, you may encounter one of the valley’s 28 species of butterfly.

Stour Valley Nature Reserve

The Owl Trail

The trail from the river bank to the car park is lined with carved wooden owl sculptures.

The Owl Trail
The Owl Trail

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

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