We were looking for a short local walk, ending with a pub lunch, to take our friends Sarah and Alan on. I came up with this delightful walk around Wareham in Pocket Pub Walks in Dorset by Nigel Vile (Countryside Books). We like Wareham, having previously walked around the town, from Wareham to Stoborough and at nearby Arne.
We started at Wareham's charming quay and walked towards Lady St Mary church.
The church is of Saxon origin, but the Saxon nave was demolished in 1842 apparently because the roof leaked. Much of what you see now is Victorian, but the tower is 15th century and other parts are older.
We skirted the churchyard and soon found ourselves on the grassy Saxon walls. They date from the 9th century and surround the town on three sides.
At about this point we left the walls and headed right through woodland to arrive at the open grassland which borders the tiny river Piddle. This is the view looking back as we turned right towards Swineham Point Reserve.
After passing a flooded gravel pit along a reed-lined path, we reached Swineham point and were offered a choice of paths back to Wareham: a winding one following the course of the River Frome (2.5m), or a more direct and straighter one (1m). We were feeling in need of lunch and so we chose the latter. Our walk book is in error here as it describes the river route as 1.5 miles.
Along the way back we suddenly saw a lot of this purple-pink flower in the hedgerow. The leaves indicated that it was obviously some sort of vetch, but which? The answer turns out to be Tufted Vetch. Very striking.
A little further on and I managed to get a decent picture of a Common Blue Damselfly. We had seen lots of them, but this was the first one I noticed perching for any length. It let me get surprisingly close - this picture was taken with the macro lens I normally use for flowers.
We returned to the walls and then took a right to follow East St to the main cross roads and then South St down to the Quay. We had a pretty ordinary lunch in the Quay Inn. There was shock and horror when the Ploughman's Lunches arrived with sliced white bread. A request for granary bread instead produced .... sliced granary bread.
Conditions: pleasantly warm.
Distance: about 3 miles.
Map: Explorer OL15 (Purbeck and South Dorset).
Rating: Three and a half star.