You may have read recently about our trip to the New Forest where we stayed at Hoburne Naish for a week. During our holiday we looked for places to visit which allowed dogs and came across the New Forest Reptile Centre. We have driven past the signage for this place several times but surprisingly had never been.
The New Forest Reptile Centre is located 2 miles from Lyndhurst and is home to some of Britain’s native reptiles. There are adders, grass snakes, slow worms, sand lizards, frogs, toads and more. The circular open air netted enclosures allow the animals to live in their natural habitat while still being visible (most of the time!) to visitors. There are several breed and release programmes in place at the centre which are helping bring back species from the brink of extinction – great news!
We were able to visit during the week on a school day so the centre was fairly quiet. We were incredibly lucky to get to see all of the species that live at the centre. It was fascinating to see them up close and take our time watching them eat, swim and relax. The volunteers at the centre were very friendly and full of knowledge about the reptiles. They took time to talk to us and answer our questions as well as help us spot the more well hidden inhabitants!
As well as the reptile enclosures there is a nest cam. This is currently showing a goshawk nest which was really interesting to see. Under a sheltered education area there were lots of items for handling such as models of the reptiles and nests, bones, antlers, etc. Cody really loved this area as you can see below!
Aside from the animals there is a trail you can follow through the forest for 1.5 miles. Pick up a laminated map to follow. It has things to do along the way, such as find a pine cone and listen to the birds singing. It’s a lovely walk and a great way of really taking in your surroundings.
Back at the visitor centre there are some picnic benches if you’d like to take your lunch with you and a toilet block. There are no food or drinks available to buy at the site. Entry to the Reptile Centre is free although there is a pay and display car park. Currently (2018) the prices are £2 for cars and £1 for motorbikes. This is a donation so feel free to give more if you wish.
The New Forest Reptile Centre isn’t huge but we still managed to spend a good couple of hours here watching the reptiles and exploring the forest trail. It’s definitely worth a visit and cheap too! Plus – DOG FRIENDLY VENUE!