Stretching from Wareham to Sturminster Marshall, the Wareham Forest Way walking route travels through some of the less well known landscapes of north Purbeck and East Dorset.

Beautiful views, shady glades, an Iron Age hill fort and lots of wildlife make this a memorable walk. You can start the walk at either end of the route as it is signposted in both directions. From Sturminster Marshall, you can join the Stour Valley Way or North Dorset Trailway to explore the rest of Dorset.

Start point: Wareham Quay
Nearest postcode: BH20 4LP or grid ref: SY 923 872
End point:

Sturminster Marshall - nearest postcode: BH21 4BU or grid ref: SY 950 003


13 miles (20.8km) one-way but can be split into shorter sections:

Wareham to Morden is 7 miles (11.3km)

Morden to Sturminster Marshall is 6 miles (9.6km)

This route is signposted in both directions.

Typical time to complete the walk: 5 to 6 hours to walk the whole route plus lunch stop.

The first 780m is on a fairly level, well surfaced route through the quiet streets of Wareham between the Quay and Wareham Common. At the entrance to the Common, there is a gate and then a gravel track down to the River Piddle of 480m - part of this track can get muddy and there is a slope back up to the Common entrance. The rest of the route is on public rights of way with stiles or gates. There is parking for disabled visitors at Wareham Quay.

Route leaflet:

You can download the Wareham Forest Way leaflet.

There was a large forest fire at Wareham Forest towards the end of May 2020. Some parts of the Wareham Forest Way may be affected and signs may be missing.

Relevant Ordnance Survey map:

Landranger map No.195 (Bournemouth and Purbeck) 1:50,000 OR Explorer maps No.OL15 (Purbeck and South Dorset) and No.118 Shaftesbury and Cranborne Chase). 


Walking boots recommended all year - wellington boots are better in winter and after heavy rain.

Public transport:

Wareham Railway Station (¾ mile from the town) is on the London Waterloo to Weymouth line.

Wareham is on bus routes 30, 40 and X54. Sturminster Marshall is on bus routes X8 and 88. To travel between Wareham and Sturminster Marshall by bus, catch the 40 or X54 from Wareham to Poole then the X8 to Sturminster Marshall. It is advised to travel out by bus and then walk back - this is so you don't have to rush your walk to catch a certain bus. Download bus timetables.

Traveline South West will help to plan your journey.


Long stay parking in Wareham is available at Streche Road or Connegar Lane.

Facilities and Refreshments:

There are pubs along the route at Wareham, Morden and Sturminster Marshall. The nearest public toilets at the start of the route are found on Wareham Quay.

Things to do in the area:

Wareham WallsThe Purbeck WayThe Purbeck Way West RouteNorthport Greenway and Sika TrailPurbeck cycle ridesWareham ForestMorden BogWareham Museum.

Staying a while in the area?  You can find walker-friendly accommodation on the Visit Dorset website.