Kayak Poole Harbour With Us

Mar 18, 2023 | Sea Adventures, Kayaking Adventures, Sea Kayaking

Old Harry Rocks is somewhere we paddle every day, for work and for fun- we love it! When we fancy a change, Poole Harbour is where we head. With an incredible 100km of shoreline, there’s so much to explore!

paddle poole harbour map route explore dorset

This week we’re sharing a particular route to kayak in Poole Harbour, the second largest natural harbour in the world. Take in some of it’s 9 islands, lush views and awesome wildlife! This particular route is about 16km, but it’s easy to shorten or make it longer!

What You Need To Know Before You Kayak Poole Harbour

There’s a bit of planning needed for a paddle like this, so we check the weather and tide times. We’ve chosen to launch from a spot in Hamworthy, but there are a few handy launching spots near the entrance to Poole Harbour. Note that the harbour entrance can be dangerous when the tide is going out, so it’s important to be mindful of this.

If you’re not sure about conditions, or if your skills are up to a paddle like this, why not join us for some coaching? We use Old Harry Rocks as our main coaching area, but on occasion we move our sessions to kayak Poole Harbour.

sea kayak coaching beach dorset

The Start Of Our Route

We start from Lake Pier in Hamworthy. It’s a handy place to launch as there’s a short easy walk from the car park to the water’s edge, which is a calm, shallow beach.

little egret wildlife dorset

oystercatcher bird watching beach dorset

We head over towards Arne which is an RSPB nature reserve and great place to spot coastal birds. Continue on around Long and Round Islands. This is a common spot to see seals, who often enjoy following the gentle ripples of our kayaks!

seal sea wildlife

Kayak The Islands Of Poole Harbour

Circumnavigating islands is always exciting! We love that as we kayak Poole Harbour it makes you feel like you’re a million miles away from everything. This is especially true as we approach Brownsea Island. The largest of the islands in the harbour, it’s owned by the National Trust. One of the few places you can find red squirrels in the South of England, though they’re especially hard to spot from the kayaks! We approach from the south side of the island, where it is permitted to land for a quick break if we fancied. (Landing is permitted only on certain parts of the island, find out more here.)

red squirrel brownsea island poole harbour wildlife

As we make our way around the Island we reach the castle which is owned by the John Lewis Partnership, and used by their employees. From here our kayak round Poole Harbour continues around the Brownsea. Plenty of opportunities to spot even more wildlife, as well as views across the water to Sandbanks and Poole. The large nature reserve here means it’s easy to see more coastal birds.

We’ve successfully circumnavigated Brownsea! Time to set our sights back onto Long Island and Arne as we head back to where we launched.

sea kayak poole harbour brownsea island coaching lesson

There are plenty of options of launching for a similar trip, like Sandbanks or Studland. Get more information on kayaking in Poole Harbour from Go Paddling.

sea kayak dorset old harry rocks explore

Want To Learn More?

If you want to develop your sea kayaking, join us for some coaching! We offer an Introduction to Sea Kayaking which is great for beginners, an Intermediate full day session, Advanced Sea Kayaking and more.

Find out more


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Starting with four Kayaks and a hut on the beach, Fore has evolved to include, sea, shore and solid ground adventures to get big and small humans in the great outdoors. Read our story.


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