Steamer Point Nature Reserve
Steamer Point is a 24 acre cliff top designated local nature reserve (LNR) that is situated between Highcliffe Castle and Friar's Cliff on the Christchurch coastline. It comprises of woodland and aquatic habitats and supports a wide variety of flora and fauna.
The Information Centre at Steamer Point provides extensive information regarding Christchurch's countryside and also incorporates an interactive display for children to play and learn with. The centre is also the home of the Countryside Service and many of the countryside events in Christchurch are based at or originate here.
The site was formally declared as a LNR and awarded a Green Flag by the Civic Trust in 2005.
Steamer Point was once part of the grounds of Highcliffe Castle and was originally intended as a formal and functional woodland with salt tolerant tree species such as Holm Oak planted to help stabilise the cliff. Today it is managed for nature conservation with non-native species such as sycamore and rhododendron gradually removed to promote the growth of native species such as oak and hazel. The area has been extensively surveyed by Dorset Environmental Records Centre and a full species list has been compiled. Part of the grassland and the cliffs upon which the nature reserve is situated are designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for their geological importance. (They were laid down 43 million years ago).