Approx 6,400 steps
Approx 100 minutes
From Wareham take the B3075 towards Corfe Castle, take a left turn where signposted. The narrow approach road has passing points. There is a large car park which is well-signposted. It cost us £5 for a ticket. Members of the RSPB can park for free if they place their membership card on their dashboard. There is no overnight parking permitted.
Due to lockdown the hides and playground weren’t open, but the café and lavatories were available.
We took the path to Shipstall Point.
The approach was mainly through beautiful old woodland, some beside farm fields and heath and we passed the Dumbledore Trail. The terrain was challenging with many tree roots on the paths and we had to keep alert to save ourselves from stumbling. Fabulous views opened out as we neared the harbour. There were benches to sit on. It was really peaceful and beautiful.
Once on the narrow shoreline we walked along the beach until we reached a path returning to the heath and woodland. To our right was a marshy area where we saw curlews, shelduck and wigeon. In the wooded/ heath area there were fascinating wood ant nests that were teeming with ants. We followed the footpath that led to some ponds and followed the signpost to the hide, but before getting there we took the blue route back to the car park because we knew the hide was shut due to lockdown. The blue route took us into a magical birch wood, which was ethereal with so many white tree trunks set against the green fields in the background. Once again we found an access into the Dumbledore Trail, but remained on our path. There was a bit of lane walking once we were out of the woodland and then we approached a playground with some rather wonderful wooden spiders before returning to the car.
For more information on RSPB Arne visit www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/reserves-a-z/arne
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