By WALX Dorset at
Choosing a favourite walk is very difficult when we live in the beautiful Purbeck area. One place close to my home and heart is Wareham Forest.
From the wide-open spaces around Great Ovens Heath and Decoy Heath to the beautiful shaded paths through the tall trees of the forested areas.
In spring it can be warm and sunny but whatever the weather it is always a peaceful place to enjoy an early morning walk to watch the sunrise from one of the many vantage points. You may also catch sight of Sika, or Roe, deer grazing on the heath and fields alongside the forest edge pathway, or they may leap across the path quite literally right in front of you. You may hear the first Cuckoo calling, or a Woodpecker playing a tune on a tree trunk.
This walk starts at the Sika Trail car park, following the Woodland trail alongside the golf course to the edge of the Morden bog area.
As we continue along the trail, beside the Morden Bog wetlands, we reach a memorial plaque named Parsons Pleasure, where you can take a short break and read about this, once the worst waterlogged heathland in Europe.
Take time as you walk to enjoy the changing scenery! From shady trees standing in muddy puddles, reminiscent of a Florida swamp to wide open spaces covered in waving grasslands, which in the sunshine look like the South African veld.
The decoy pond is behind the trees on our right and the grassland with smaller ponds on our left.
As we reach a junction you may spot a few daffodils on the left side of the path. Here we will step into a beautiful daffodil covered glade, which is hidden from the main track and you could pass right by if you didn’t know it was there. This is where the old decoy house once stood, now it is just a few old bricks and the remains of its once landscaped gardens.
Climb up the hill on the other side of the path to get a lovely view of the large decoy pond, a man-made pond devised to retain the channelled water from the surrounding land to lure migrating ducks, enabling them to be trapped.
Now we take the track along the furthest end of the bog until we find ourselves walking around the pond and onto the track which meanders along the edge of the Decoy Heath. Here we head off into the trees, with the dappled sunlight gleaming through their branches, and back up to the main track all the way to a bridge across a gently rippling stream and from there return to the car park.
Don’t forget to visit to the viewpoint to see the zigzag path we just walked around. You will be surprised how far it seems you have walked – or perhaps you won’t!