100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 70 – Canford Heath

Introduction

Canford Heath on the outskirts of Poole is the largest area of heathland in Dorset. The 850 acre site is situated approximately 6 miles north west of Bournemouth. It is home to snakes, lizards, dragonflies and birds and is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Criss-crossed with trails and with its elevated view it make for a pleasant outing.

Canford Heath
Canford Heath

Getting There

Just north of Poole and close to Turbary Retail Park and the entertainment complex of Tower Park, Canford Heath is easily accessible by car and public transport. There are several entrances to Canford Heath, including at Gravel Hill lay-by and on Culliford Crescent and Francis Avenue. There is no actual car park, however there is free parking available on many of the surrounding roads. Buses No 18 from Bournemouth and 5/6 from Poole stop at The Pilot next to the heath. The bus stop is named after the adjacent pub, so handy if you work up a hunger/thirst during your exertions on the heath.

Canford Heath Map

Trails

There are trails running through and around the edge of the heath which make for a lovely scenic walk/run with views across the heathland to Poole Harbour and beyond.

Canford Heath Trail
Canford Heath Trail

Trails are also suitable for cycling, although a little bumpy for my liking. Note that I am, in fact, a wuss.

Canford Heath Trail
Canford Heath Trail

We chose a lovely autumn afternoon to take a walk around one of the trails.

Canford Heath
Fire damaged trees

The area was devastated by a large fire earlier in the year, but is starting to regenerate. The russet tones of the autumnal foliage have started to creep above the charred black embers below.

Canford Heath
Autumn Colours
Canford Heath
Autumn Colours

On a good day, you can see right across to Poole Harbour and Brownsea Island with the sea glistening on the horizon.

View from Canford Heath
View to Poole Harbour

In the other direction is Tower Park with its distinctive water tower and the equally distinctive Parkstone water tower further to the left.

View from Canford Heath
View to Tower Park

Note: Dogs must be kept on a short lead between March and July and under close control at all other times of the year.

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

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