This is a great coastal walk which can be accessed from the village centre via Sea Road. Go past The Smugglers Inn, the car park and the Community Centre and walk to the top of Sea Road, until you reach The Needles Eye Cafe in front of you.
Turn left into Hurst Road and arrive at The Lighthouse restaurant (white art-deco building). Between The Lighthouse and the large black shed building is a gate leading into the public Bird Hide, which looks across the 27 acre Sturt Pond local nature reserve.
The Hide provides a hidden sanctuary for you to watch the birds without disturbing them. There are wintering wild geese, ducks and waders and plenty of summer birds to watch on the ‘scrape’, reedbed, grazing meadow, saltmarsh, scrub and the pond itself.
Upon leaving the Bird Hide turn left along the Spit that leads to Hurst Castle. Keep on the lower gravel path that will take you past the southern end of Sturt Pond and you will arrive at the first of two wooden bridges that straddle the stream. The second bridge brings you to Mount Lake and the Saltmarshes. The two bridges are popular in spring and summer for children to go crabbing (please use net bags for placing food in rather than hooks which are harmful to the swans, ducks and gulls).Cycling is permitted here and is a great way to discover the area down towards the Keyhaven Marshes.
Dogs are welcome and are best kept on a lead (or under control) especially at times when the wild geese have just arrived from their 3,000 mile migration from Siberia and during the spring and summer bird breeding season when swans, ducks and grebes are nesting.
The nearest car parks for Sturt Pond are Hurst Road East and Hurst Road West the latter of which has public toilet facilities (Sat nav: SO41 0PY). The Needles Eye cafe and The Lighthouse offer refreshments for weary walkers.
Bird Hide Opening Times
- Monday-Sunday: 9am-5pm (or dusk if earlier)
- Entry is free, but there is a donation box that is emptied daily and used for ongoing Hide maintenance
- Free family ‘BIRDING FOR BEGINNERS’ sessions are held in the Hide on the third Saturday of every month
throughout the year, between 10am and noon. Please bring a pair of binoculars and experienced birders from the Milford Conservation Volunteers are on hand to help you with bird identification
- Yellow Wagtail