Southampton Rocks

New Forest Wildlife Park

Places to Visit

The New Forest Wildlife Park is located on the edge of The New Forest close to the towns of Ashurst and Lyndhurst. The Park specialises in native and past-native wildlife of Britain and otters and owls from around the globe, housing three species of the former and 16 of the latter. The Park is recognized as the UK's leading institution in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned wild otters, along with the rehabilitation of other wildlife such as owls, deer and foxes in similar situations, and it is involved in several conservation projects, including breeding programmes for endangered native species such as Scottish wildcats, water voles and harvest mice.


The site was opened as The New Forest Butterfly Farm in 1981, and the main glasshouse complex that formed the farm still stands today. That venture was closed in the early 1990s, and it was taken over by entertainment company Vardon Plc. (which also owned the UK's numerous Sea Life Centres), who turned the site into New Forest Nature Quest, a collection specialising in native wildlife. However, when Vardon was taken over by Merlin Entertainments in 1998, the park was put up for sale. Some of the animal collection was taken over by a company called 'Nature Quest' owned by Kenneth West, that eventually was housed at the newly created Wildwood Discovery Park in Kent. The remainder of the collection was taken over by Roger Heap who had already been running the Chestnut Centre, an otter and owl specialised collection in Derbyshire, since 1984 when he took over ownership of the park.

Along with the many native animals that Nature Quest had fixed into the park, the Heap family added a large collection of otters and owls on par with the Derbyshire Park and The New Forest Otter, Owl and Wildlife Conservation Park was born. Twelve years later, the park was re-branded as The New Forest Wildlife Park to emphasise the large and expanding collection of native and past-native wildlife in addition to the many otters and owls.


There is ample free parking on site, including coach parking.

Disabled access

We welcome wheelchair and mobility scooter users and visitors with limited mobility. However, the woodland trails and natural forest environment may pose difficulties for some visitors. Please telephone the park prior to your visit to discuss your requirements, and we’ll do our best to help.
We offer discounted rates to visitors with disabilities and their carers (one carer per visiting adult or child with disabilities or special educational needs).

Car-free travel

Now you can visit New Forest Wildlife Park without a car. During the summer months the New Forest Tour open-top bus (Red Route) will take you right to our door. You can enjoy grandstand views of the New Forest along the way, hopping on and off at various villages and attractions when you wish.
June to September - the New Forest Tour Bus also gives you discounts on entry prices.
Find out more at

Registered Assistance Dogs

Registered Assistance Dogs are welcome to visit New Forest Wildlife Park
All dogs must wear their harness/uniform and be on a short lead where applicable.
Assistance dog identification/registration may be requested.
For the welfare of our free roaming wallabies, wolves and lynx dogs are not allowed to walk through Wallaby Wood. Please ensure your dog does not upset other visitors or our animals .

Opening Hours

Monday10:00 - 17:30
Tuesday10:00 - 17:30
Wednesday10:00 - 17:30
Thursday10:00 - 17:30
Friday10:00 - 17:30
Saturday10:00 - 17:30
Sunday10:00 - 17:30

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