Brands Bay SUP (Poole Harbour)
Want to escape the crowds when you SUP Poole Harbour? Then look no further, Brands Bay is your spot! There’s a good chance that you’ll be the only person paddling this hidden gem!
≈ Quick Facts:
- Launch Point: Bramble Bush Beach
- What is the distance: 3 miles circular route
- How long does it take: 2 – 4 hours
- Shelter from wind: East / South East
- Best Tide: High
- Waves: No
- Pay To Park: No
- Parking Distance: 3 minute walk
- Do you pay to launch: No
- SUP Rental: No
- Wildlife: Sea birds, curious cows and the odd seal
- Eat & Drink: One restaurant / cafe
- Toilets: Yes
- Hazards: Outgoing spring tide
≈ Location Guide:
Where to park and launch a SUP at Brands Bay
If you decide to catch the Bramble Bush chain ferry that rumbles over from Sandbanks peninsular (every 20 minutes), you won’t need to drive all that far before you need to park on Ferry Road. Word of warning, if you plan to SUP Poole Harbour from this location in the Summer, get there early, otherwise you might be queuing for the ferry for 45 minutes or more, seems like the whole world descends at this time of year!
You will first need to drive past the Shell Bay sailing centre and restaurant on your right. It happens to be situated at one of the best spots in the entire harbour if you like watching the sun fall in to the sea while filling your face with posh nosh. Also a great spot for an apres SUP beer or two!
Continue for another few hundred metres, then park next to the grassy dunes and trees on your right. If you are coming from the Purbecks direction you will need to take the B3351 road from Corfe Castle. Once you have parked up, you’ll find a network of sandy pathways heading through the dunes, so not too difficult to carry the paddleboard to the water. In the Summer it can be a tad tricky on the less used paths, when the bracken has exploded to life everywhere, restricts your movements somewhat, but not a biggy. You launch from a narrow sand and stone beach. The seabed is firm, made up of mud and sand.
What’s there to see when you SUP Poole Harbour from here?
The first thing you’ll notice on launching at Brands Bay is a collection of rickety old house boats permanently anchored just off the beach. Very trippy, looks like the cover of a Pink Floyd album.
The ideal wind direction to SUP Poole Harbour from here is an Easterly. You will paddleboard straight across Brands Bay to the Goathorn peninsular, keeping Brownsea Island on your right in the distance. In this wind direction you’ll have the wind behind you, so a nice and easy downwinder. It’s probably a good idea to keep well away from the boat channel which is continually in use. You get some right plonkers bombing up and down the channel in their shiny new speedboats. You’ll know where it is by the usual red and green posts sticking out of the water.
I once met a very friendly seal on this stretch, he let me follow him for a good half an hour. He wouldn’t let me get too close but was happy for me to tag along. Very cool. Once you arrive at the end of Goathorn peninsular you will find a variety of pleasure boats moored up, people on deck enjoying the stunning 360 degree views. Some of them are quite sociable as you weave between them.
I head for the holiday cottage situated at the end of the peninsular and hang a left for a few hundred metres and haul the plank up on to the nearby stony beach. A great vantage point for looking back towards the launch spot a good mile away. You can also see to the left of this Brownsea Island and the narrow mouth of Poole Harbour that takes you out to the English Channel.
After a quick stop here, jump back on your board and SUP only a short distance along Goathorn’s coast until a deserted, stunning beach comes in to view, easily the prettiest on this SUP by a long way. There is another photo of this beach at the top of the page.
Time for another stop, just take care to not walk off the beach, it is strictly private, they’ll shoot you on site!
From here paddleboard parallel to Goathorn beach, following the curve of Brand’s bay round until you see a large marshland area on your right.
This area has a network of streams running through it which are fun to explore via the paddleboard. It can get a bit shallow and muddy in places, but not an issue, just wack the SUP in to reverse and try another way through.
After you have explored the marshes continue on until you see lush farmland on your right. Sometimes cows saunter on down to the water’s edge to have a nosey at what’s going on in Poole Harbour.
You’ll also see the odd farmhouse partly hidden by trees. After you have finished chatting with the cows you will notice that there is a hell of a lot of sea birds hanging about. They love this end of Poole Harbour due to it being so quiet and free of humans! You don’t really get boats up here, so ideal for paddleboarders too! Head on a bit further until you come to the end of this stretch of the bay. You will come across a small river running down to the sea at this point. You can paddle a little ways up the river but eventually your route will be blocked, so about turn and SUP back to Poole harbour.
Now paddleboard along to the right side of the Brands bay. The next thing you’ll see as you continue to SUP Poole Harbour is a bird hide for the twitcher brigade perched high above the shoreline. The water on this stretch is totally sheltered from Easterly winds. It is usually like glass, sweeeeet!
There is a narrow strip of sand running along the water’s edge from here, most of the way back to the launch spot.
The land behind is the outer edge of Studland heathland, made up of bracken, gorse, heather and trees. There are also some very inviting beaches along this stretch that make a perfect spot to stop for a drink / picnic and enjoy the panoramic views one last time before the final SUP back to the car.
If you want to SUP Poole Harbour but crave peace and tranquillity then Brands Bay has your name written all over it!
And relaaaaaaaaax! 🙂