Explore Wareham's Rivers and Water Meadows

Wareham is nestled in between the River Frome and the River Piddle which flow through Wareham on their way to Poole Harbour, one of the largest natural harbours in the world. The result is that Wareham’s surrounding riverside and water meadows are areas of outstanding beauty than are really worth exploring.   

River Frome walk from Wareham Quay

Previous slide
Next slide

One of Warehams most popular riverside walks and part of the Purbeck Way…

River Frome walk from Wareham Quay to Redclyffe

Location: The footpath can be accessed over the bridge, opposite the Quay.

The River Frome is one of the most westerly chalk rivers in England and an important breeding for river for Salmon, as well as an attraction for a number of waterbirds and other wildlife. The name ‘Frome’ is an old Celtic river name, first used in the 9th century and probably means ‘fine’ or ‘fair’.

This is one of Warehams most popular riverside walks and part of the Purbeck Way – recognised as an area of ‘Outstanding Natural Beauty.’  The walk is only a 10 – 15 minutes stroll each way and takes you down towards Redclyffe and Ridge.

There are some stunning views of Wareham, overlooking the Priory Hotel gardens and the Priory Church of Lady St Mary (read more about Wareham’s churches). Towards the end of the riverside path you can enjoy looking at the variety of boats moored near the Redclyffe Yacht Club. The Yacht Club was founded in 1933 by Percy F. Westerman, a prolific author of children’s adventure stories. He lived on a barge near the current clubhouse. (Read more about Percy Westerman and other famous and notable people associated with Wareham) The pathway is well maintained (can be muddy in the winter) and has some interesting information boards along the route.

Fishing

Free fishing is available from the town bridge downstream to the marina, with the majority of the fishing on the south bank. Free fishing is also from the Quay car park area on the north bank, by the bridge. This popular spot is well known for catching roach, winter pike, carp, perch and grayling, as well as salmon, trout, mullet, flounder, bass and others.

Only a Rod Licence is required. To reduce the risk to fish while they’re spawning, the traditional close season operates here 15th March to the 15th June. Wessex bye-laws also apply. Enquiries: Purbeck Angling shop, South Street – Tel. 01929 550 770. 

Alternative Frome walk on opposite bank…

There is also a marked footpath accessed at the bottom of the graveyard of the Priory Church of St Mary, on the opposite side of the bank. This pathway is not so well maintained and can often be overgrown. Some areas have been laid with planks and wooden walkways. It can be very muddy in winter. 

Wareham's Water Meadows

Previous slide
Next slide

A patchwork of meadows, salt marshes and reedbeds around Wareham

The patchwork of meadows, salt marshes and reedbeds around Wareham supports a diverse and rich ecology, most of which is designated as a Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI).  The meadows provide a large area of grassland next to the shallow waters and mudflats of Poole Harbour forming a valuable habitat for wintering birds to use as a roost or for feeding. The meadows are also important for breeding birds during the summer months.
The meadows are a tapestry of plantlife, some of them rare. This rich flora attracts many insects including colourful butterflies and dragonflies.

To find out more about the varied flora and wildlife in the meadows, why not visit Priory Meadow, situated opposite Wareham Quay, and view the six interpretation boards on site. 

Birdlife at Wareham's Water Meadows

The old gravel pits can hold Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Northern Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Eurasian Coot, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Northern Pintail, Common Pochard, Greater Scaup, Red-necked Grebe, Slavonian Grebe (Horned Grebe) and the occasional Red-throated Diver.

At low tide Wareham Channel holds feeding Dunlin, Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Common Greenshank, Avocet and Black-tailed Godwit many of which use the water meadows as a high tide roost. Check all Gull (Laridae) flocks carefully for more unusual species such as Yellow-legged Gull and Ring-billed Gull.

The Wareham Channel is known for both Osprey and White-tailed Eagle since the recent reintroductions in Poole Harbour and the Isle of Wight.

Canada Geese a common visitor to Wareham's Watermeadows
Canada Geese are a common visitor to Wareham's Water Meadows

Take the Piddle !

Previous slide
Next slide

The word ‘Piddle’ comes from the Saxon word word – ‘pidelle’ – which means ‘marsh’ or ‘boggy ground’

River Piddle

The River Piddle comes from an old English word which means ‘marsh’ or ‘fen’,  dating back to at least the 10th century.

A very pretty countryside walk along the River Piddle can be accessed from the North walls. Take the path down to the North Mill near to the North end of Mill Lane. This path takes you to Wareham Common where cattle or ponies can often be found grazing.

Follow the pathway, past the meadow and take the gate next to the river, under the bridge. You will then come to a very pretty area where the river is very shallow, popular for picnics and paddling in the river. There’s also quite a good chance that you’ll see swans floating lazily along, and if you’re really lucky you may see the iridescent blue flash of a Kingfisher! There is an information board by the gate at the end of the field. You can also walk past the farmhouse to the bridge, where you can watch the rushing water of the Weir at Westmill. There are further walks and pathways under the railway bridge.

A good map of this riverside pathway can be found in the Dorset Council, called ‘Two Rivers Walks’. There are two walking options of 1.5 and 4 hours. The short walks takes you along Wareham Common and the long includes some of the walls as well as Bestwall Park, Wareham Meadows and Swineham. Bestwall Park is the site of a former gravel pit which has been filled in to create a lake. The site is also notable for the important archaeological finds here (read more about Warehams prehistoric history). Both Bestwall Park and Wareham Meadows are an important wetland conservation area that is very popular with birdwatchers.

The Two Rivers Walk map can be downloaded for free from the Dorset Council Website.

 

Unique opportunity to explore nature on Wareham's doorstep!

One of the most wildlife rich places in the UK!

Did you know that Purbeck is one of the most wildlife rich places in the UK?

Many of the natural areas of Purbeck hav also been declared part of the Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve (NNR). Find out more about these and other natural and wildlife attractions in Purbeck .

Purbeck Heaths Nature and Wildlife

Find more visitor attractions and activities near Wareham...

  • All
  • Animals
  • Birds of Poole Harbour
  • Castles
  • Cinema
  • Cycling
  • Dorset Wildlife Trust
  • Entry Fee
  • Family Days Out
  • Fun ways to explore Purbeck
  • Gardens
  • Get Active
  • Historical
  • Interactive and Experiences
  • Jurassic Coast
  • Museums
  • National Trust
  • Nature and Wildlife
  • Nature Reserve
  • No Entry Fee
  • On the Water
  • Purbeck Heaths
  • Walking
  • Wareham Town Centre
  • Zoos
All
  • All
  • Animals
  • Birds of Poole Harbour
  • Castles
  • Cinema
  • Cycling
  • Dorset Wildlife Trust
  • Entry Fee
  • Family Days Out
  • Fun ways to explore Purbeck
  • Gardens
  • Get Active
  • Historical
  • Interactive and Experiences
  • Jurassic Coast
  • Museums
  • National Trust
  • Nature and Wildlife
  • Nature Reserve
  • No Entry Fee
  • On the Water
  • Purbeck Heaths
  • Walking
  • Wareham Town Centre
  • Zoos
Birds of Poole Harbour - a Woodcock at Stoborough Heath, Purbeck

Birdlife at Stoborough Heath NNR

Soldiers Road runs between Hartland Moor and Stoborough Heath NNR, offering several convenient laybys to …

Read More →
Burngate Stone Carving Centre Purbeck

Burngate Stone Carving Centre

Visit Burngate at its inspirational location overlooking the Purbeck countryside at Langton Matravers, near Swanage. …

Read More →
Wareham Boat Hire

Wareham Boat Hire

Offering self drive motor boats, kayaks, canoes, rowing boats, boat trips and stand up paddle …

Read More →
Clouds Hill home of T.E. Lawrence in Bovington, Wareham, Dorset

Clouds Hill

A tiny isolated cottage in the heart of Dorset which Lawrence furnished to his own …

Read More →
Scroll to Top