|Milford on Sea to Lymington
Solent Way is a 60-mile footpath along the Hampshire coastline
from the seaside town of Milford-on-Sea to Emsworth Harbour.
The route is marked with a sea bird on a green background.
Also with the number of footpaths around the reserve one can easy plot out one’s own circular walk. Click here for map.
The car parks to use are, Keyhaven (large), Fishtail Lagoon (small, informal, about 10 places), Maiden Lane (alongside the road, about 6 places) and Bath Road Car park, alongside the yacht clubs (large).
The Solent way in this region is also popular with cyclists, you can cycle the Solent Way from Milford on Sea to Lymington. The route through the Nature Reserve is a permissible cycle route.
walk to Lymington is about 5 miles and passes through a Nature
Reserve, classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, it
is an area of outstanding beauty. The Nature Reserve is
made up of lagoons, reeds beds, salt marsh and mud flats and 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 also support nationally
important breeding populations of little terns.
The common waders seen all year round are the, Curlew, Dunlin, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Ringed Plover 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.
Although the area between Lymington and Keyhaven is a peaceful nature reserve today, it was in historic times a hive of industry, with a continuous line of salt works along the 5 miles of coastline from Lymington to Hurst Spit. The greatest concentration of industry being in an area of two miles by half a mile wide situated in Oxey and Pennington marshes. Picture the area in the 18th century, with evaporating ponds for as far as the eye could see, countless small windmills pumping the brine to the boiling houses, billowing smoke from the boiling houses, boats delivering coal and taking away the salt and the air thick with white salt dust.