More than a century of research, reports and archives held at Hengistbury Head

As part of our ongoing work, we collect scientific records on a wide range of subjects from wildlife and habitat surveys to weather data from our own weather station, which we use to inform the way we manage the reserve for people and for wildlife.

Archaeology and historical collections

Our archaeology and historical collections range from the Late Upper Palaeolithic (Old Stone Age) to the 20th Century. Key artefacts are displayed in the Archaeology Gallery at the Visitor Centre. Our collections are open to students and researchers upon request.

We are currently digitising the archaeological collections from Oxford University 1980s/1990s excavations loaned to us by the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.

Archives collections

Over a century of research, reports and archives are held at Hengistbury Head and we are working with other institutions to complete our records.

The archives include reports from the earliest excavations at the beginning of the 20th century to the latest in 2001. We also curate a vast collection of historical and contemporary photographs as well as plans and maps dating back to the 16th century.

Do you have any images to share?

If you have any historical images relating to Hengistbury Head or any of our Nature Reserves, please get in touch.

Additionally, Bournemouth Borough Council management plans dating back to the 1970s provide an excellent historical record of past-policies and objectives for Hengistbury Head.

Our student projects archives (from A-level through to Phd) provide a historical record of (mostly) natural history data and are an inspiration for new research.

Natural History


Our natural history records are extensive with more than thirty years of butterfly research, moth recording and other fauna recording across the wide variety of habitats. Relatively recent re-introductions are covered too such as the Natterjack Toad and Sand Lizard.


The flora of Hengistbury Head and Christchurch Harbour has also been well researched and described with a quarter of the UK plant list having been recorded on the Site of Special Scientific Interest.


Student Projects

A significant part of the archive are student projects ranging from A level through to Phd and may provide interesting data and inspiration for new research.


Working with Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum

The entire archaeological collection held by the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum is being loaned to the Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre and will be gradually transferred and digitised in the purpose built artefact store.


There is also a vast image archive of historical and contemporary photos as well as plans and documents dating back to the 16th century.

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The study station is a virtual gateway to our other nine Local Nature Reserves in Bournemouth as well as many of our green spaces and parks.

Research data for science

As part of our ongoing work, we collect scientific records on a wide range of subjects from wildlife and habitat surveys to weather data from our own weather station, which we use to inform the way we manage the reserve for people and for wildlife.

Some of these records will be available to download here in the near future. We’ll be adding to this online catalogue as time goes on.  In the meantime, if you’re interested in our data, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to help wherever possible.

When and where will this all be available?

We are gradually digitising all the archives and some of it is available now.  Please check this page for updates and highlights as our work progresses.

Our website will be the gateway to all this information whether you are online or accessing it from one of our two Study Stations at the Visitor Centre.

Access to our collections

Our collections are available to students and researchers by appointment. Please contact us for more information.

Donating to the collections

If you would like ot make a donation or remember us in your will, please contact us for more information.


Finally you may wish to check out our partner's website run by the Christchurch Harbour Ornithological Group (CHOG). It has a daily account of bird and other wildlife sightings in the harbour.

CHOG have been studying, recording and ringing birds in the Harbour since 1956 and as a result the harbour has become a nationally recognised migration hotspot.

Contact Us


Thank you for contacting us, we will respond as soon as possible, however if it is a complex matter it may take us up to 10 days.
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