This route is a longer paddle for experienced paddlers, wanting breath-taking scenery and a challenge….
- Wareham Quay to Rockley Park, near Poole, Dorset (River Frome emerging into Wareham Channel)
- A return journey starting from the picturesque Wareham Quay, following the river out into the Wareham Channel and towards Rockley Park, near Poole.
Distance & time (approx)
- 6+ hours, 6/7 miles each way
- St Johns Hill Carpark, Wareham BH20 4NA. £4 for 4 hours. Bear in mind it states that maximum parking time is 4 hours which is not extendable.
- Wareham Boat Hire, Abbot’s Quay, Wareham BH20 4LW. 5 minute walk from St Johns Hill carpark.
Turn left after launching and head under the bridge.
- The waterways on this river don’t require you to have a license to paddle on them. However, if you paddle regularly on rivers you could consider becoming a member of British Canoeing.
- This paddle is not tide dependant, but as you can see from the photo above, if the tide is high you may need to paddle on our knees until you are the other side of the bridge. Do be aware that this river does sometimes flow fast, so coming back to Wareham can then be a bit of a slog. As this is a long paddle, you might want to factor this in as it is at the end of the paddle you’ll need to have enough energy to get you back, so do consider if you want paddle all the way to Rockley Park. You will need to check the wind speeds, though, using an app such as Windy.
Rider ability level
- Due to the length of this paddle and the fact that it comes out into the sea, it is a harder paddle. Especially if the River Frome is flowing fast that day and you’ll need to be able to get back to the launch site. The recommendations are to always go in a group, have spare kit such as a ‘get home paddle’ and standard fin and make sure someone in your group has paddled this route before. It is also recommended to wear a Bouyancy aid.
Details of the paddle
- As the River Frome widens into a vaster stretch of water, called Wareham Channel, it is recommended to hug the coastline to the left. As tempting as it is to paddle across to Arne and them cross the channel across to Rockley, ,this channel is very busy with boat traffic and can be susceptible to swell and choppy water. You are not permitted to land on Arne as it is a RSPB Nature Reserve, but you will still get a spectacular view of the wildlife as you paddle past it on your right. Notice a small group of islands also on your right and and the entrance to another river on your left. This is the River Piddle, sometimes know as Trent. Another very useful tip is to note a easily recognisable landmark as you exit the narrower River Frome and enter the open stretch of water, because when you are on your return trip it can be hard to find the entrance back into the correct river to take you back to Wareham. The similar looking river mouth, for the River Piddle/Trent will take you to the other side of Wareham. You will also need to be aware that there really isn’t anywhere to land until you reach Rockley, so do bear this in mind when planning your adventure.
- When you get back to Wareham Quay you will definitely have earned a hearty meal, so head to The Old Granary which is on the river next to the bridge. Lots of seating outside, if you want to prop your boards up in view.