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.
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.
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.
From here, there are a series of three trails you can follow along the banks of the River Stour.
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.
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.
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.
The Owl Trail
The trail from the river bank to the car park is lined with carved wooden owl sculptures.