Wareham River – SUP Heading North
Want to see what it’s like to SUP Wareham river? This stretch is the ideal spot. You can rent a paddleboard right by the slipway!
≈ Quick Facts:
- River Name: River Frome
- What is the distance: 1 mile each way
- How long does it take: Half hour each way
- Shelter from wind: Any direction if light
- Best Tide: Incoming low to mid high, NOT High (High is 1 hour after Poole)
- Pay to park: Yes
- Parking Distance: 5 seconds walk
- Do you pay to launch: No
- SUP Rental: Yes – Quay slipway
- Wildlife: Swans (Cygnets May – July) and deer
- Eat & Drink: Restaurants & pubs
- Toilets: Yes – On the quay
- Hazards: Powerful outgoing, no landing points, Low A351 bridge
≈ Location Guide:
Where to park & launch a SUP in Wareham?
You will be paddle boarding on the River Frome. There is a public slipway right by the main B3075 road bridge next to Wareham quay. During the day most of the parking in Wareham is 2 hours maximum stay, such as on the Quay. I use CHURCH GREEN next to the Priory graveyard, you can park there for 4 hours for £2.00, more than long enough for a SUP. Both car parks are free after 7pm. This is the best time to SUP Wareham river anyway with the sun setting and all. Church Green doesn’t have a height barrier and is a longer walk than if you were parked right on the Quay. It is still only a short 2 minutes from the car park to the slipway though. You walk past the Priory church, (The very friendly vicar came over and said hello when I last walked by with board in hand. Being a Sunday the Church bells were chiming like crazy). You then walk between two buildings next to the church which takes you on to the quay. Walk through the quay car park, past the pub on your right, river to the left, cross the main road (B3075) at the point where the bridge spans over the river and then you’re at the slipway. You don’t have to pay to launch. Next to the slipway there is a small company that can rent you a SUP! (at time of writing) Unheard of on the majority of UK rivers. See pic below..
SUP rental next to slipway
Best time to launch?
Incoming, mid high tide, otherwise you might not be able to paddle under the A351 bridge if you leave it till full high.
What is there to see when you SUP Wareham heading NORTH?
The paddle boarding is very easy, very scenic, and very quiet, so ideal for nervous paddle boarders. When you first launch, on your right you will see a mixture of oldish properties rambling along the water’s edge and battered old boats moored along the left.
The river then meanders along the edge of fields and flood plains with the odd tree draped over the water. I didn’t pass one boat on the entire paddle, The vast majority of boat traffic heads downstream towards Poole Harbour, there’s not much for them to go North of Wareham. After 20 minutes of leisurely paddle boarding you will arrive at the A351 road bridge that takes you down to Swanage and Corfe Castle.
View North from Wareham bridge, slipway to the right.
On a high spring tide you will have to lie down on your board to actually get under the bridge! I went under on a normal mid high and just had to duck a little bit. Once you have paddled under you will see a huge flood plain on the left full of swans nesting everywhere, they don’t exactly blend in with their surroundings at all, being bright white against the green. I paddled here in April which I guess is the time of year when there will be more swans anyway, being the big breeding season April / May.
Rik from Whasup boardbags
You will then meander for another 10 minutes after the bridge until you see a red sign on the right river bank (see pic below) warning you to not go any further up the river, you have reached the tidal limit. This is for two very good reasons; the first being that from this sign going North it is a privately owned fishing zone, the other more relevant reason to SUP paddlers is that you only need to paddle board for another 5 minutes up the river and you start to hit a strong current running against you. Go a further 5 minutes and it’s almost impossible to paddle against it, not worth the effort. My advice is to turn at the warning sign and slowly paddle back. I paddled up the river for a second time recently with Rik (pictured below), half an hour before the tide had turned to start flowing back upstream and was surprised just how tough it was to paddle against the outgoing water, so definitely make sure that it is an incoming tide when you launch.
As you paddle back to Wareham you’ll have a pleasant view of the Wareham Priory in the distance, gradually getting larger the nearer you paddle to Wareham. The only small negative with the upstream river paddle from Wareham is that it is tricky to find a spot to beach your board and stretch your legs for a minute. Most of the river on this section is steep sided, very slippery and muddy, so disembark with care! Once you are back in Wareham there are plenty of places to eat and drink to suit all budgets. One of the best is the Old Granary which over looks the river, a great place to spend a few hours watching the yachties drift by.