Wareham:Gateway to the Purbecks

Wareham sits on a low ridge between the rivers Frome & Piddle some 8 miles south west of Poole.

wareham-market

Getting there

The town can can be reached by car on the A351 Poole to Swanage road.There is a mainline train service to the town running from Weymouth up to London Waterloo.Go here for a timetable.

Please note the station is some way from the town centre.A 10 minute walk is required.

The No 40 also runs from Swanage up to Poole.Go

for the timetable.

The Town Tour

The best place to start is at the bridge over the River Frome.If you are in the town on a Saturday there is a market by the bridge selling all manner of local produce.The cheese stand is particularly good.

Pass through the market and you will see the Priory Hotel which was once a monastery but is now a highly rated hotel.Enjoy your Sunday lunch here.When you're full have a walk round the grounds that extend down to the river.Well to book though, call them on 01929 551666.Bed and breakfast start at £225 per night.

priory hotle

Opposite the Priory is the Church of Lady St.Mary including a Tudor tower and 10 bells.

Walk past this down Conniger Lane then turn left at the end where you will start the walk along the town wall ramparts.Although the walls are long gone the earth mounds that supported them are still there on three sides of the town,the south side defended by the river.

The town was attacked by the Danes in 876 prompting the construction of these defences to defend the port,a port that served as an important trading point with France.

Continue to walk along the walls until you reach North Street the main street through the town.On your left you will see St Martin's Church built in Saxon Times.It receives many visitors for inside is an effigy of T.E.Lawrence better known as Lawrence of Arabia.But please stay awhile and see the rest of the Church,it is worth a longer look.

st-martins-church

Continue westwards up Shatter's Hill and onto the ramparts again.Then turn southwards onto the west walls where many executions were carried out on the orders of Judge Jeffreys following the Monmouth Rebellion.

This rebellion was an attempt to overthrow James II a catholic,a rebellion which failed.Monmouth was then executed for treason.

Turn left into West Street and you will pass the Rex Cinema.This is the only gas lit cinema in Britain and still uses carbon arc projectors.

Continue back to the centre of the town and you will see in East Street the entrance to the town Museum open 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday between Easter and mid October.Admission is free.The museum displays the area's geological and social history and of course the story of Lawrence.

Walk down along South Street and you will end up back at the bridge.The Purbeck Information & Heritage Centre is on the west side of South Street opposite the market.

Cruising to Poole

During the summer you can enjoy a cruise from Poole Quay up to Wareham though these only occur when the tide is right.Call Brownsea Island Cruises 01929 462 383 for details.Or you can hire a motor or rowing boat yourself from Wareham Boat Hire.Call them on 01929 550688.They are located next to the River Frome bridge.

Otherwise enjoy a walk along the south side of the River Frome.This walk is known as the Purbeck Way a 5 mile walk that ends up at Corfe Castle Or you can coarse fish for free from the town to where the river enters Poole Harbour.All you need is an Environmental Agency rod licence which costs £25 for one year.You can buy it online here

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