All of our local tourist spots are really busy at the moment so when you want to cool down on a hot day you need to think of other places to go. RSPB Arne is an area of natural beauty which covers 565 hectares of heathland and woodland so you can choose to have a short visit or stay all day if you wish. The reserve on the edge of Poole Harbour is a haven for wildlife and remains one of the few places in the UK where all six of the UK's native reptiles can be found.
Of course things are a little different with the current pandemic situation so the visitor centre and café is closed however you can still park the car for the day for £5 (free for RSPB members) and staff are there to answer any questions you may have.
There is 1 toilet open in the car park which I’d recommend using before you start your journey through the woods. We chose to take the red route which we were told would take approximately 25 minutes however it was hot, I had a pushchair and my daughter had to keep looking for fairy doors and climb trees so for us it took about 40 minutes.
The views are simply stunning and by the time we got to the water we were hot hot hot and desperate to get in and have a paddle. There seemed to be quite a lot of seaweed but we walked far to the right which was much clearer and whilst we didn’t go far enough in for a swim we was quite content in the warm shallow water and my daughter had endless fun fishing seaweed out of the water using her spade and making a collection with some nice shells.
After our picnic it started getting too hot for us and whilst there was a couple of shady spots under the trees we thought it would be nicer to have a slow walk back through the woods where it was cool.
Now, here lies our one little problem. We followed the red route down with no problems at all but on the way back I must have missed a turning and we ended up going a completely different route. My mistake took us out of the lovely shade and onto a hot path which ended up taking well over an hour which luckily my daughter slept mostly through. My poor mum was bursting for a wee and I’ll admit after a while I wished I’d picked up a map or invested in a compass haha.
Just before you get back into the current car park field there is a catering pod which is operating daily and sells drinks, ice creams, sweet and savoury snacks.
There is plenty of signage to encourage social distancing however the reserve is pretty big and at no point did we need to get close to anyone so if you enjoy the great outdoors then I’d thoroughly recommend it.
For more information including location, trails and car park open hours please visit RSPB Arne.