You cannot fail to miss the headlines that Bournemouth and Poole’s beaches have been packed over the last few days, with people longing for some normality and some seaside fun.
Most of us are still conscious that lockdown is not over, but are still keen to find quiet walks that are a short drive away.
5 Great Walks for Social Distancing in Bournemouth and Poole
Getting to the Iron Age Hill Fort of Badbury Rings, takes you down one of the prettiest roads we have locally – Beech Avenue, the B3082, the main route between Wimborne and Blandford.
Badbury Rings itself has several pathways to explore, as well as the steep banks of the hill fort itself, which is perfect for kids to race up and down.
All around is spectacular countryside and the paths themselves are easily accessible for young and old.
There is a small carpark onsite run by the National Trust and despite being packed when we arrived, we saw very few people when we were out on our walk because the site is so large.
Avoid busier times by visiting first thing in the morning, or late afternoon evening.
Hengistbury Head is a protected and beautiful location at the eastern end of Bournemouth’s seven miles of golden sandy beaches, which gives you beautiful views over Bournemouth Bay, Christchurch Harbour and Mudeford Spit.
There are two car parks which you can use, plus on road parking, although this is limited to one hour.
There are many scenic walks to choose from, with our favourite being over the top of the headland and down to Mudeford Spit as you get the best views across the to the Isle of Wight. It is a great spot for kite flying too.
The pathways are wide and suitable for pushchairs, plus there are plenty of passing spots if you meet other people out for a walk.
The beaches at Mudeford spit are home to some of the most expensive beach huts in the UK and are much quieter than the more easily accessed ones of Bournemouth and Poole.
Stour Valley Way
The Stour Valley Way is a designated footpath which follows the 64 mile course of this magnificent river that runs through Dorset.
It is best to avoid the more popular spots, such as Kingfisher Barn and Christchurch Quay as these can be busy, especially a peak times, but there are plenty of quieter areas to choose from around Bournemouth and Poole.
We walk from home to Canford Park SANG, but there is a small carpark on site and a picturesque 2.5km walk.
One of our other favourites is the pathway from Canford Magna. You can either choose to follow the pathway to Wimborne, or walk in the other direction to Stapehill.
There are lots of lovely shallow spots too, perfect for a paddle.
The Castleman Trail is a 16.5 mile gentle trailway which follows much of the old Southampton to Dorchester railway line and is littered with some beautiful locations, like the Lady Wimborne Bridge, pictured above.
The trailway links to local country parks, including Moors Valley, Avon Country Park and Upton Country Park.
We are lucky enough to live on the edge of Canford Heath, known for being the largest heathland in Dorset, and the largest lowland heath in the UK.
Canford Heath offers a variety of walking paths, with clear signposts dotted around so you don’t get lost. Sometimes you get glimpses of nearby Tower Park, but most of the time it feels like you are in the middle of nowhere.
The heath is home to all British reptile species and we have been lucky enough to spot a few sand lizards on our walk, although not an adder……yet!!
Have you got any other local walks that I can add to my list?