RSS Feed

  1. Longham Lakes is a wonderful hidden haven which is located close to Ferndown and Bournemouth Airport.

    Longham Lakes DM

    We knew of the lakes but until now we hadn’t explored the area and luckily the sun made a rare appearance for us.  There is a car park there but this is for anglers and authorised users only so you’ll need to park somewhere nearby and walk down.  We chose to park at Haskins but only because I knew we’d be back there for tea and cake plus I needed some soil and plants.

    It took us about 10 minutes to walk to the main entrance via the A348 main road (opposite direction to Bournemouth Airport) and by the time you get to the lakes the hum of the busy roads fades away and all you can hear are ducks splashing and birds singing in the trees.


    We told the kids we were going to walk around both lakes and they dived down to the waters edge at every opportunity.  About half way round our daughter got tired but the promise of a cream tea kept her going.  We met lots of lovely dog walkers and bird watchers and sometimes I’d ask what they were looking at in the trees.  One chap had a big camera and told me he was looking at a bird of prey and then said ‘oops, no, it’s just a pigeon’.  This made all of us staring into the trees laugh.

    I noticed several pathways leading to the lakes so I imagine you could park on surrounding roads and come in via a different path.  We stopped several times to enjoy the view and have some snacks but after about 90 minutes the kids were hot and needed a wee so we took a side path in the direction of Haskins and came back down onto the main road.

    The combined distance around the lakes is apparently 1.5 miles, although it felt further to me haha.  One of the lakes is used for fishing and the other is used by local clubs for canoeing, model yachts and model planes.


    Wildlife enthusiasts will be in heaven with a reported 147 species of birds to see and wild flowers growing.  I also spotted lots of butterflies and noted what looked like blackberry bushes so I plan to return at the end of summer to see if I’m right.

    Good to know:

    Dogs are allowed and there’s poo pins around the lake.  A sign stated that dogs should be kept on leads and should not enter the water.

    Paths are buggy and wheelchair friendly.

    Be aware that the water depth can be up to 30ft in depth in places and paddling is discouraged.

    There are plenty of benches to sit and rest or enjoy a picnic.

    There is a toilet at the Study Centre however this may be for those attending meetings only.

    There is no charge to enter Longham Lakes.

    Don’t forget to take plenty of water, sun cream if needed and wipes for mucky hands.

    For more information on Longham Lakes, please visit South West Lakes Trust.


    If you need a treat after your walk around the lakes then I can thoroughly recommend visiting Haskins Garden Centre.  They serve a variety of meals and light lunches however the cake counter really is something else.  Between us we enjoyed a cream tea, decadent chocolate cake and a scrummy piece of strawberry gateaux.  I also came home with a couple of bags of soil and 2 pretty new plants.  Anywhere that sells delicious cake and flowers always makes me happy.


    Longham Lakes DM

  2. There’s a large number of charity shops in Dorset which is not only great for the purse but also for the environment, and the charity which your money goes towards.

    Buying clothes, toys and equipment for children can be very costly so you’ll see charity shops listed below with an idea of price scale and if they sell items for children.


    1 being low (you’ll grab a great bargain) and 5 being high (you’ll only buy if you really love or need it).



    Sue Ryder
    Address: 13 Institute Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 1BX
    Cost scale: 3
    Children’s items: Kids corner with clothing, shoes, toys and books.

    Margaret Green Animal Rescue Charity Shop
    Address: 20 Institute Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 1BX
    Cost scale: 4
    Children’s items: Small selection of clothing, toys and books.

    Going for Bust
    Address: 11 The Square, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2LJ
    Cost scale: 3
    Children’s items: Corner with small amounts of clothing and baby toys.

    Age UK
    Address: 58 High Street, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 2NX
    Cost scale: 3
    Children’s items: Small amount of clothing and toys.

    Lewis Manning
    Address: 31 Station Road, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 1AD
    Cost scale: 3
    Children’s items: No children’s items for sale.


    Stray Dogs Sanctuary
    Address: Seymours Place , St John's Hill, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4LR
    Cost scale: 2
    Children’s items: Small children’s rail with clothing.

    Sue Ryder
    Address: 22 South Street, Wareham, BH20 4LT
    Cost scale: 3
    Children’s items: Very small amount of children’s clothes and some toys.

    Weldmar Hospicecare
    Address: 17 West Street, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4JS
    Cost scale: 4
    Children’s items: Very small amount of children’s clothes and toys.

    Age UK
    Address: 5 North Street, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4AB
    Cost scale: 3
    Children’s items: Good amount of children’s clothes with a small number of toys.

    Margaret Green Animal Rescue
    Address: 27 North Street, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 4AD
    Cost scale: 4
    Children’s items: One small children’s rail plus some toys and books.

    If you know of any more charity or pre-loved children’s shops in the Purbeck area then please do Contact Us.

    More areas to be added soon!

    Need more ideas for places to shop for kids items?  Please see our list of upcoming pre-loved baby/ children’s sales and car boot sales.


    Please note that info given was correct at the time of writing in April 2024.