Hengistbury Head

Find out what there is to see and do at one of our most important local nature reserves

Hengistbury Head is home to over 500 plant species, 300 types of birds, a superb variety of insects, reptiles and small mammals,

Hengistbury Head is also a Stone Age and Iron Age archaeology site.

The reserve has a number of different habitats for wildlife including woodland, heathland and saltmarsh.  From the Head there are amazing views across Bournemouth and beyond to the Purbecks and the Isle of Wight.

Visitor information

We highly recommend you start your visit at the Visitor Centre, which is just a short  5-minute flat stroll from the main car park.

The Centre is open from 10.30am to 4pm daily (except Christmas Day) and until 5pm in the summer. You can see displays of archaeology artefacts that have been found at Hengistbury Head, and learn all about the wildlife that lives on this local nature reserve.

The team at the Visitor Centre will tell you what you might see on your visit - don't forget to ask for one of our free nature trails to follow.

There are different themed exhibitions in the centre, as well as talks and events throughout the year. 

Discover the delightful, peaceful wildlife garden to the rear of the centre, where you can stop, enjoy the tranquillity and a hot drink and even maybe an ice cream!

Find tasty local produce including craft gins and beers in our gift shop, which is stocked with local and sustainable gifts, toys, jewellery, homeware, books, cards and more!

Visit the Hengistbury Head website for the very latest news and events.

A land train runs from the Hiker Cafe to the Beach Cafe on Mudeford spit every day (except Christmas Day). It is a great way to take in the sights.

If you like the dramatic scenery at Hengistbury Head you might enjoy exploring the countryside habitat and wildlife at Wick Fields. This is between the golf course and the harbour. You can find out where all these wonderful places are by looking at our parks and countryside map.


There is a pay and display car park at Hengistbury Head - find out more about opening times and charges.

Caring for Hengistbury Head

Because of the delicate balance of our habitats we use animal grazing to manage the grassy areas and keep down unwanted scrub growth.  

We have several different cattle breeds at Hengistbury Head. We ask visitors to keep their dogs under close control when passing these animals.

Hengistbury Head has been awarded a number of special conservation designations, including:

  • Site of Special Scientific Interest
  • Scheduled Ancient Monument
  • Local Nature Reserve
  • Special Area of Conservation
  • Special Protection Area
  • Environmentally Sensitive Area
  • Site of Nature Conservation Interest
  • Green Flag