Wareham To Poole Harbour SUP
Wareham, the gateway to the beautiful Purbecks. The river Frome runs right along one end of the town and is very accessible for SUP enthusiasts.
≈ Quick Facts:
- River Name: River Frome
- What is the distance: 2 miles each way
- How long does it take: One hour each way
- Shelter from wind: Any direction if light
- Best Tide: Mid high tide or neaps on a high (High is 1 hour after Poole Harbour)
- Pay to park: Yes / Free after 6pm
- Parking Distance: 5 seconds walk
- Do you pay to launch: The Quay (No), Redcliffe Farm Campsite (£2 per sup)
- SUP Rental: Yes – The quay slipway
- Wildlife: Swans (Cygnets May – July)
- Eat & Drink: Restaurants & pubs
- Toilets: Yes
- Hazards: Powerful outgoing & incoming tide
≈ Location Guide:
Where to park & launch a SUP in Wareham?
Please refer to the detailed instructions on my other post for Wareham river. Click Here You don’t always need to use the slip way, at spring high tide the water is only a foot below the edge of the quay so you can just drop your boards in and step straight on. You can also park on the quay if you are lucky enough to get a space, which is free after 6pm. If you want to launch from the nearest point to the Poole harbour you can also park at Redcliffe Farm Campsite between May to October at a cost of £2.00 for the day. The gates are permanently locked outside of these months. There is a further £2.00 per board launched from their slipway. There is also a toilet that you can use on the adjacent campsite. Launching from the campsite will cut out half an hour each way from the paddle.
Parked at Redcliffe Farm campsite
Be careful with the tides!
I got caught out once, I looked at the Poole tide table and presumed that it would be the same at Wareham, but in reality it takes an hour or so longer before the effects of the rising tide makes it up river to Wareham quay. I ended up paddling against a really strong out going Spring tide river flow, nearly had to walk back!
What is there to see heading SOUTH?
You are paddle boarding SOUTH on this route. This is my favourite stretch of the river from Wareham. It is far more scenic than paddle boarding North from here. To start with you will paddle past the Old Granary restaurant where diners sit outside watching people bobbing about on the river.
Then shortly after this point St Mary’s Priory will come in to view. This towers over the very expensive Priory Hotel that is situated in the most perfect spot right at the water’s edge. Fancy a posh chill after your SUP? Then look no further, non residents are permitted to visit the hotel to partake afternoon tea on the terrace. A great shout in the Summer!
What a stunning spot to get married!!
You could totally max out on style points by paddleboarding to the jetty in full wedding attire. How cool would that be! I expect an invite after putting the idea in your head. 🙂
After this point you will paddle on down to the Redclyffe Yacht Club on the right, this is basically a long prefab building sat on stilts in the river, unfortunately they don’t offer coffees and beers! I always take great pleasure weaving in and out of their expensive boats moored all the way down the river. Occasionally I stop paddling and have a chat with a random yachtie working on their boat. They can be a font of useful knowledge on what the tide is up to on a given day.
There are two slipways beyond the yacht club where you can take a quick breather, the first is located just after the first bend at the Redcliffe Farm Campsite. Handy if you need to stop for a minute and have a rest.
Private Slipway – Redcliffe Farm Campsite
The next slipway is about another 10 minutes paddling down river, located at Ridge Wharf Centre. This is a big advantage over paddle boarding North where there really isn’t anywhere to stop at all, just steep muddy banks. To this point from Wareham it takes half an hour paddling, a good place to turn if you only have an hour spare.
Slipway – Ridge Wharf Centre
Otherwise you can leave the yacht club and continue on to Poole Harbour for a further half an hour. This section of the paddle is mainly alongside tall reeds and moored up boats lining the river, not much in the way of trees or scenery of any note.
Typical scene heading towards Poole Harbour
On the weekends the river can be very dicey to paddle due to heavy boat traffic heading down to Poole Harbour for the day. The boats can really churn up the water, even with a 4 knot speed limit in place. In the main people are very considerate though, slowing down when they see you coming. I generally go Monday to Friday after work, when people don’t seem to bother so much with their boats and also parking is free in Wareham.
Fully loaded tourist boats scrape their way up the river Frome to Wareham Quay
Once you reach the harbour it’s advisable to stay within the channel markers as it can get extemely shallow outside of these. On the return paddleboard back to Wareham quay, you will get a decent view of the Priory across the flood plain as you meander along the river.
Once back in Wareham it’s the law that you have to head straight to the nearest pub for a well earned pint! Cheers!