Destination UK

A peaceful walk around Arne Nature Reserve

Posted on
November 26, 2020

We are very lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world, with plenty of beautiful places to visit on our doorstep.

Last weekend, we headed to Wareham to visit Arne Nature Reserve.

Arne is situated on the west hand side of Poole Harbour and celebrated for its lowland heathland and its wildlife including Dartford warblers, nightjars, all six species of British reptile, butterflies. moths and its beautiful Sika Deer.

As we arrived, we were guided to the Covid-secure welcome point, where we paid for parking (£5) and invited to take a photo of the map, so we could refer to it if we needed to.

Arne Nature Reserve

We took the Shiptal trail, which takes you from the carpark and through wood and heathland to the beautiful Shipstal Beach. Make sure you stop and look out from the picnic area for gorgeous views of Corfe Castle in the distance.

Corfe Castle

With so much rain recently, the pathways are quite muddy underfoot, so I recommend a pair of wellies or walking boots if you plan on visiting.


The walk to Shipstal Beach takes about 25 minutes from the carpark and is well worth it for the peace and tranquility, as well as the views over Poole Harbour and its islands.

Shipstal Beach

The kids really enjoyed practising skimming stones and paddling in the shallow water, albeit with their boots on.

Shipstal Beach

The sweep of sand carries on around the corner and then you can climb over the top of the heathland for views from above.

Poole Harbour

We didn’t see many birds on our visit, but we were followed round by a friendly robin. What we did see, was a couple of Sika deer.

Arne Nature Reserve

My husband spotted them first, but I have to admit I could not see them – there are actually two in picture above – can you spot them?

Sika Deer

Thankfully, as they started running, their little white heart shape bottoms were clearly visible as they bounced across the field.

Sika Deer

Once the deer had disappeared from view, we continued our walk, stopping for the kids to explore or climb a tree.


There are seven different trails to follow, although a few pathways are currently closed. Eliza was most amused by one being called the Dumbledore trail, but we did discover that a Dumbledore is the Dorset name for a Bumblebee.


I am definitely going to use Wopsy for a wasp from now on – that sounds much less scary!!


Due to lockdown, the bird hides and play area are closed, however, the public toilets are open and cafe is open for takeaway refreshments.


I highly recommend Arne as a place to visit for a socially distanced walk. The carpark was full when we arrived, but it is such a large place that we only saw a handful of people whilst following the trails, although it did get busier as we approached the car park.


Have you visited Arne before?

  1. Reply


    November 26, 2020

    I’ve never visited but it looks lovely. My kids absolutely love climbing trees! It’s a great way to encourage them to go out and walk by promising tree climbing!

  2. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    November 26, 2020

    I have never visited Arne before, no. It is absolutely beautiful and I will definitely check it out if I am ever in the area.

  3. Reply

    Sarah Bailey

    November 26, 2020

    This looks like such an amazing place to go have a walk. Sometimes there is nothing quite like getting out in nature and just enjoying it.

  4. Reply

    melissa major

    November 27, 2020

    I have never been here before but it sure looks like a wonderful place to visit with family, my kids would love it

  5. Reply


    November 28, 2020

    We love going out in walks . This place looks great for tree climbing , Alessia’s favourite thing to do at the minute:)

  6. Reply


    November 29, 2020

    I had no idea that Dumbledore meant Bumblebee! You learn something new every day… It looks like a beautiful, peaceful place to walk.

  7. Reply


    December 1, 2020

    I’ve never been before, but it looks so beautiful! One of the positives of this hard time is that it’s allowed us to discover new places to embrace the stunning landscape around us 🙂

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Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog