Wareham Channel SUP (Poole Harbour)
The Wareham Channel SUP is by far the best section of Poole Harbour to paddleboard if you are craving long deserted beaches. There is also the bonus of a few monster ships to go and investigate.
≈ Quick Facts:
- Launch point: Lake Pier – Hamworthy
- What is the distance: 8.5 miles
- How long does it take: 4 – 5 hours
- Shelter from wind: Leeward side of Arne in SE
- Best wind direction: South Easterly
- Best tide: High spring
- Pay to park: Yes at Lake Pier (£2.00 for day)
- Parking distance: 10 seconds
- Do you pay to launch: No
- SUP rental: No at Lake Pier. Yes at Rockley
- Wildlife: Sea birds, deer, seals
- Eat & Drink: No Cafe. Just an ice cream van
- Toilets: Yes in car park
- Hazards: Mud at low tide, Ski boats
≈ Location Guide:
Where to park & launch a SUP at Wareham Channel?
There is a decent sized car park right at the water’s edge. If you are lucky, you’ll bag a parking spot that is actually overlooking the sea. In the Summer and sunny weekends it is advisable to arrive before 10am to guarantee a space. There is a shabby toilet block within the car park. There isn’t a cafe but if you time it right a friendly ice cream van pops down each day. The launch is very easy, the water is shallow, and slowly shelving with a sandy bottom and no waves to battle.
The ideal wind direction to SUP Wareham channel is in a South easterly. You will need to SUP anticlockwise so that the wind is behind you on the first half of the route and then sheltered by the Isle of Arne for the second half.
The slight down side of paddelboarding here in a SE is that the wind accelerates (Venturi effect). It gets squeezed between Brownsea Island and mainland Poole. A force one wind at the other end of Poole harbour can be up to force 3 by the time it hits the Wareham Channel.
What is there to see when you SUP Wareham Channel?
Launch your SUP from Lake beach next to the pier. You will need to hang a right and hug the beach for about a mile. You will first pass Ham Common which is a mini nature reserve and lake. All you’ll see of this from the water is heavily gorse covered sandy cliff. Stunning in the Spring and Summer, it is will be a mass of yellow flowers. After 1 mile you will arrive at the other end of this beach. This is where Rockley Point beach & caravan park are located. The first thing that will come into view is a line of very expensive static caravans teetering of the edge of the cliff.
After this you will arrive at the small Rockley beach. There is a watersports centre here that offers tuition and dingies / SUPs to rent (Red Paddle). There is also a small cafe. Some people drive straight here, there are limited spaces for your car. Just behind the beach is an iron train bridge and entrance to another section of Poole Harbour, Lytchett Bay. On the Wareham Channel route we won’t be exploring this part of the harbour.
SUP left away from Rockley and navigate around a slither of muddy marsh projecting in to Poole harbour. Once you have paddled round the other side of this it is well worth landing on the next beach.
It is literally right next to a train track and bridge. You can see the bridge from the sea.
Scramble up to the top of the embankment to the top of the train bridge. It is possible to look down to the train track both ways from here.
If you wait 10 minutes or so a train will storm by underneath you at full pelt, impressive to watch!
After this point you will see three small marshy islands off to the left. Be careful, these are protected bird colonies – named Seagull Island. Do not land on these or you will be in BIG trouble, especially in mating season.
SUP further along the shore of Wareham Channel until you arrive at Holton heath industrial estate on your right. Not much to see here, but it marks where you need to turn left.
Head up to a finger of land that projects out in to the Channel, it’s all muddy marshland on this section. There is also two small beaches along here that are OK to land on. Don’t worry you won’t sink up to your head in mud, the beaches are sound.
They are made up of millions of shells, very pretty seeing them en-masse like that. I can’t think of anywhere else in Poole harbour where a beach is made up of just shells!
Ideal spot for a drink stop and to take in the panoramic views across the channel.
After this point you continue paddling to the right. Not very interesting on this stretch – basically muddy marshland for a mile or so, and not all that safe to land.
Hang a left after a mile of repetitive marshland and head over to the mouths of River piddle & River Frome. Watch out for the odd boat heading in and out of Poole harbour from here. Not really an issue though, they generally drive pretty slow. Just wait until they pass and then paddle straight across the narrow boat channel and continue onwards. You can see a distant views of Wareham priory from here. It is possible to SUP up the River Frome to to take a closer look. it is situated right by the water. This is not included in the Wareham Channel SUP. To find out more go to another of our articles: http://supexplorer.co.uk/wareham-to-poole-harbour-sup/ )
After the two river mouths, head onwards and pass by Giggers Island (Marsh land basically). It’s nothing spectacular, but if you want to land on this scrap of land it has to be super high tide
After about a mile of SUPing to the East a very long beach comes into view. Hang a left here, you will now be sheltered from the wind for rest of SUP.
Last time paddleboarding this section I saw two deer having a romantic walk on the beach together. I grabbed a photo, but the quality is pretty bad I’m afraid.
You SUP North East. You will Paddle along three miles of continuous, DESERTED beach!
This is by far my favourite part of the Wareham Channel. No buildings, no people to speak of and very, very quiet! The beach is also fringed by beautiful gorse and trees the whole way.
I have just been informed by the Isle of Arne Warden that you are not permitted to land on any of the beaches of Arne………..which covers the whole of the Arne peninsula including the 3 mile stretch of beach that you see me standing on. This is a sanctuary area and any landing risks causing disturbance to threatened wildlife. The shore is muddy sand anyway and if you get it wrong you might sink up to your ankles in the black stuff, not very pleasant!
Once nearing the other end of this VERY long beach, a sprinkling of large ships will come into view. Anchored in the deeper waters off Arne. Definitely worth a few flicks of the paddle to head out and investigate!
From here you are almost back at the launch point. Oh and by the way, keep an eye out for lunatic ski boats as you cross the channel on your way back to the pier!