Frequently Asked Questions About Our Parks

Find answers to your questions about the services our parks team provide and the land and wildlife we look after

If you want to report something or contact us then use the buttons on any of our web pages.  If you have a question about our parks or natural areas have a look at the list below to find the answer.

About our sites...

Parks and Local nature reserves

We have over 100 parks and public spaces, including 10 local nature reserves in Bournemouth.

These spaces take up about 900 hectares, or 1,400 football pitches worth of land.  That’s about one fifth of the whole Borough, find out more about each of our local nature reserves

If you want to know where they are take a look at our map.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is a name given to a special conservation area. It is because of the types of plants, animals or habitats that are there.

We have 4 SSSI in Bournemouth, these are:

About our wildlife, grazing stock and plants...

Native species

We have lots of different plants and animals in Bournemouth because we have such a wide variety of habitats available.  From heathland, woodland, meadows and scrub to boggy marshland and coast.

It’s impossible to say how many native species live here, but we can give you some interesting facts:

  • More than 500 plant species and 300 bird species have been recorded at Hengistbury Head
  • Millhams Mead has over 200 species of flowering plants, more than 50 types of birds and 24 species of butterfly
  • We’ve recorded 20 species of dragonflies and damselflies and 12 species of grasshoppers and crickets on Kinson Common
  • Turbary Common is home to all six British reptiles: adders, grass snakes, smooth snakes, sand lizards, common lizards and slow worms.

Rare species

Our nature reserves are also home to some very rare and special plants and creatures. Lots of our sites have been designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest to protect them.

Some of our rarest plants live on Kinson Common, which has three species of orchid and the Sundew which eats insects.

We also have some rare birds in Bournemouth. These include the Dartford warbler at Hengistbury Head and Turbary Common . Also, the Cetti’s warbler at Hengistbury Head and Stour Valley.

Our rare insects include the scarechaser dragonfly, small red damselfly, wolf bee and the long-winged conehead bush cricket.

In 1989 we re-introduced England’s rarest amphibian, the Natterjack Toad, to Hengistbury Head. The Natterjack was last recorded on the headland in the 1950s and died out because of lack of habitats.

Today we’ve got a large and successful population of Natterjacks.  If you visit Hengistbury Head in May as dusk approaches you can hear their distinctive mating call for miles around.

What migrating birds visit Bournemouth?

We have lots of migrating birds passing through Bournemouth in the summer that spend time in our nature reserves.  These include Blackcaps, willow warblers, chiffchaffs, whitethroats, reed warblers, sedges warblers, swallows, house martins and cuckoos.

Birds that visit us during the winter do not breed here and include various species of ducks, waders and geese.  Smaller birds include the fieldfare, redwing and waxwing.

Try and visit Hengistbury Head in the spring. You might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of redstarts, whinchats, ring ouzels and yellow wagtails.

Grazing animals

We use grazing animals to help us manage the grass and scrub on out nature reserves.  This is a great way to manage the land as it is all natural and sustainable.

Currently we have:

  • Shetland cattle
  • Galloway cattle (purebred and cross breeds)
  • Exmoor ponies
  • British feral goats

Our cattle graze on Hengistbury Head and Wick Fields, Stour Valley, Kinson Common and Turbary Common.  Turbary Common is also home to our ponies.  Our goats live on the steep scrub-covered slopes at Honeycomb Chine next to Boscombe pier.

Our grazing animals are all cared for by our Parks team, they are checked every day to make sure they are healthy.  In the winter we give them extra food and water.

Bournemouth’s trees

We have 20 native species of tree in Bournemouth and an interesting collection of exotic varieties.

If you walk through Bournemouth Gardens you can follow the Tree Trail. You will see trees from all over the world, including Persian ironwood, Californian redwood and Monterey pine.

About activities you can do in our parks and nature reserves...

Booking an event in a park

You can book one of our parks or space in the Gardens for an event. Visit Bournemouth Tourism’s events and filming page for more information you need.


Have a look at our Bowls page to find out more about where you can play and what times the sites are open.


Dog can walk at almost all of our sites. Exceptions are where we have grazing animals or the area is used by nesting birds. 

There is a special doggy play patch at Slades Farm that you and your dog might enjoy. All of our parks and nature reserves are ideal for walkies.

Just remember:

  • Keep an eye out for the ‘No dogs allowed’ signs to make sure your dog doesn’t go where they’re not supposed to
  • Always pick up after your dog. Dog fouling is something you can be fined for if you leave it.

Guided walks

We offer a range of guided walks all over Bournemouth throughout the year.

We have trail guides you can use to take a self-guided tour.

Why not have a go at the Tree Trail, or pick up a trail from Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre or Kingfisher Barn Visitor Centre?

Kings Park Nursery

The nursery is open to the public at certain times of the year. There are plant sales every Wednesday to Sunday from the Spring through to the Autumn. Find out more.

Metal detecting

We do not allow anyone to use metal detectors in our parks, gardens or nature reserves.


If you’d like to find out where playgrounds or areas for teenagers are they are all listed on our parks map.

There are 64 playgrounds in Bournemouth as well as sports and activity areas that include:

  • Athletics stadium
  • BMX tracks
  • Skate parks
  • Outdoor paddling pools and water play areas
  • Mini golf courses
  • Tennis courts
  • Ball courts

Radio controlled aircraft

The aircraft must not weigh more than 7 kilograms if it is combustion powered. You can find out more about what we allow on our land in our Byelaws

If you want to fly a radio controlled aircraft you can only do it at certain times and in certain areas. Refer to our parks map to see where these are.

  • Millhams Mead- Monday and Wednesday from 5pm to 8pm and on Saturday from 10am to 1pm
  • Meyrick Park – Sunday 2pm to 8pm
  • Slades Farm – You must submit an application form to our parks team to fly here