Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole offer a fantastic variety of lovely walks, from woodland trails, coastal vistas and clifftop views to stunning parks, historic landmarks, gardens and nature reserves…there really is something for everyone.

Here’s just a few ideas to get you started:

Coastline Walks

Our coastline offers some great walking experiences with fantastic panoramic views.  You can enjoy a gentle mile and a half walk along the promenade between the Piers. Starting fromBoscombe Pier head along the promenade and enjoy the views of the Purbeck Hills and the natural sweep of the Bay. If you fancy a little detour head up the nearby East Cliff slope towards the Russell-Cotes Museum and Gallery, a fascinating and exotic seaside villa perched on the cliff top. Filled with beautiful objects from the Victorian owners’ world travels. There are often art exhibitions on show there, and it has a welcoming café for warming refreshments.  Head out through the gardens to end your walk at the Pier.

A mixture of blue and yellow colours as the sunsets over Bournemouth beach lodges

 If you fancy a more challenging walk start your walk at Hengistbury Head Nature Reserve and walk the 10 miles of beautiful coastline to Sandbanks in Poole.  

Start early and make time to explore Hengistbury Head. The Nature Reserve is an important ‘Site of Special Scientific Interest’ (SSSI) it boasts walking routes that lead to spectacular and panoramic views of the nature reserve, Christchurch harbour, Bournemouth Bay and across to the Isle of Wight. Take in the different habitats of heathland, grassland, scrub, woodland and freshwater wetland along this coastal trail, spotting the many types of birds, a superb variety of insects, reptiles and small mammals. 

Hengistbury head on a crisp winters morning overlooking the grassland

From Hengistbury Head walk westwards along the beach all the way to Sandbanks  in Poole taking in Southbourne, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Alum Chine, Branksome Dene, Branksome Chine, Canford Cliffs and Sandbanks.   Enjoy the sea air, beautiful views, two historic piers, wooded chines and look out for the goats on Boscombe’s cliff top! There are plenty of places to stop off and enjoy a bite to eat, including the Prom Diner and Prom Café to name just a few.

Christchurch – Discover Tuckton Tea Gardens, Riverlands and Christchurch Harbour

Start at the pay and display car park just past Tuckton Library and you will be right on the River Stour near Tuckton Tea Gardens and Riverlands.This area is a large open green space which is opposite the River Stour. The area is made up of meadowland and smaller wooded areas. After walking along the river, head past Tuckton Tea Gardens Café and boat hire and head up onto the bridge, turn right and walk across the bridge towards Christchurch.When you get to the next roundabout, turn right and follow the footpath to Riverside Holiday Apartments and the Captains Club Hotel. Just beyond the Captains Club you can pick up the footpath that takes you along Christchurch Quay.

This area offers a gentle walk along its waterline, allowing you time to watch the boats, kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders go by as well as an abundance of wildlife and birds. Follow the path along the quayside and this will take you over a little bridge by Place Mill, then follow the stream to Christchurch town centre. On your way, take a little detour up to Christchurch Priory and visit the castle ruins.

Beautiful sunset over Christchurch harbour during an Autumn evening

Stour Valley Local Nature Reserve

The Stour Valley on the north-west edge of Bournemouth is a riverside nature reserve. Incorporating a two mile stretch of riverside walks, meadows, hedgerows and woodland to explore, making for an ideal autumn/winter walk. Wander through the trails, spotting the birds and animals that call it their home. Staff at the Kingfisher Barn Visitor Centre , which sits between the car park and the river, provide information on the area, refreshments and toilet facilities. They can help with advice on what to see and where to walk. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity that this natural area offers the walkers.

Wooden owl found at the Stour valley nature reserve near Bournemouth

Poole Quay to Whitecliff Park

Poole Quay is a beautiful spot to start a walk along the Harbour towards Whitecliff Park. Before you start your walk explore Poole Quay and visit Poole Museum (free entry) to learn all about Poole’s maritime heritage.  There are also plenty of opportunities to enjoy a bite to eat at one of the many waterfront quayside cafes and restaurants.  

Start your walk with a fantastic view of the harbour on the viewing platform of the Sea Music Sculpture, by Sir Anthony Caro.  Back down on the Quayside, with the harbour to your right head towards the life sized sculpture of Lord Baden-Powell (which honours Poole’s scouting connections).  Next, head to the Old Lifeboat Museum and follow the path around to Harbourside Park (Baiter) taking in the stunning views of Brownsea Island.   Follow the path into Whitecliff Park along the waters edge and you have reached your destination.  If want to extend your walk cut to Poole Park or head up to Sandbanks Road and follow the road through Lilliput to Evening Hill viewpoint.  Take in the breath-taking views of the harbour.  The road then follows the water’s edge along the promenade all the way to Sandbanks Peninsula also known as Millionaires Row.

Panoramic view of the stunning Poole harbour just before the sun sets

Bournemouth’s Grade 11 listed Gardens

Just a short stroll from the beach are Bournemouth’s Grade II listed Victorian Gardens, landscaped over 1.5 miles. Enjoy a leisurely walk through the Lower Gardens renowned for their floral beddings all year round, Pine Tree Walk and Rock Garden, which was built in the 1930’s. Head into the Central Gardens, home of the tennis courts, war memorial and the start of the tree trail walk.  Look out for the street art just before you enter the Upper Gardens.

The Upper Gardens are a quieter section with pretty red bridges, boardwalks and a rather elegant Gothic style Victorian water tower.  Follow the footpaths to Coy Pond and you have reached your destination – a pretty little pond full of wildlife and ducks galore!

Beautiful Autumn shot of the brown and orange leaves in Bournemouth gardens during a family walk

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