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The National Park boasts 26 miles of lesser-known but very important coastline.

The New Forest’s coast is a mix of wildlife-rich shingle, saltmarsh, lagoons and mudflats, and much of it is protected by law for its importance for nature.

Home to many species, particularly birds, the coastal mudflats are a vital refuelling post for tens of thousands of migrating waders that include godwits, snipe and avocet.

Where there are large concentrations of wading birds, there are often also predators such as peregrine falcon.

There are also large flocks of Brent geese that overwinter on the Forest’s coast from their Siberian breeding grounds. They come in their thousands to feed on the eel grass beds.

Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve is a popular part of the coast, rich with birdlife and a fascinating salt-mining history.

Another good spot is Lepe Country Park, with its miles of shingle beach, wading birds and reminders of its role in D-Day during World War Two.

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