Wareham Forest

Visitor information

Fresh air and open spaces

Forestry update

Growing trees for home-grown timber means that they have to be managed all year round. From 13 November we'll be removing some trees nearby, in Gore Heath. It's vital that our gateways are kept clear for forestry vehicles working on site and emergency vehicles. Warning signs will be in place around the area and it’s important that you pay attention to signs your own safety, that of others. Work is only taking place Monday - Friday, and will be carried out as safely and as quickly as possible, in order to keep disruption at a minimum.

Wareham Forest is a great place to explore and discover the famous heaths and woods of the Dorset countryside.

Many miles of tracks take you through beautiful and ancient landscapes, where if you are lucky, you’ll see some of its special wildlife. The cycle trail takes its names from the famous Sika deer and the walking trail is named after the rare ground-nesting birds, Woodlarks, who's lovely song you may hear on your walk.

Wareham Forest is patchwork of different habitats, including open heathland and woodland - it's home to lots of very special plants and animals. Bogs and streams provide vital habitats for many creatures and support a wealth of rare and diverse plant life. They also play an important role in maintaining the health of the Forest and absorbing carbon.

Parts of Wareham Forest are grazed in a way that's sensitive to its plants and wildlife. This traditional practice is helping to create a varied habitat for wildlife. Please do not approach the cattle too closely and keep your dogs under close control and close gates behind you.

Forest Plans

All the forests we look after have a forest plan which provides descriptions of the area and shows the process Forestry England goes through when deciding what is best for the woodlands in the long term. We aim to protect, improve and expand our forests through active management, so that we can protect our woodlands against pests and diseases, support our wood processing industries, maintain and improve the biodiversity of forests and make them attractive places for people to visit.

The Forest Plan for Wareham is due to be reviewed again very soon and we will welcome the opportunity to work with local people, neighbours and nature charities to frame the future landscape for Wareham Forest.

Further information about the current Forest  Plan

At a glance

Please give cattle a respectful distance
17/05/2022 13:53
Well behaved dogs are welcome
17/05/2022 13:54
Close the gates behind you
17/05/2022 13:52

Things to do

Cycling is a fantastic way to explore Wareham Forest and soak up the beautiful scenery.

Cycling is available on the forest roads at the site and our family-friendly routes guarantee an enjoyable day out for everyone!

Follow the blue waymarked posts on the ground. Look out for our info board with maps.

This trail has good surfaces and is suitable for most cycling abilities.

Follow the way-marked posts around a loop which starts and finishes at the Sika Trail car park. 

This route has good surfaces and some gentle hills along the way.

Nearby forests

Butterfly on leaf

Located five miles west of Wareham, Hethfelton Wood is a native broadleaf wood and is currently undergoing butterfly conservation efforts. 

Woman in woodland

Comprising of mainly coniferous trees, Moreton Forest is located to the west of Poole.

Explore the varied scenery on the interesting public trails that run through Moreton Forest.

We advise visitors, particularly dog walkers, to keep their dogs under close control at all times and keep a safe distance from the livestock that graze here.

sunlight through conifers along woodland path

Situated to the east of Puddletown, Affpuddle offers an interesting landscape of both forest and heathland as well as views across the Purbeck Hills.

Popular with local dog walkers, the forest can be explored on its open paths and bridleways. 


Families enjoying cycling in the forest

Moors Valley is a joint venture between Dorset Council and Forestry England and the work we do here goes beyond the remit of most visitor attractions, including countryside management and forestry. With over 800 acres, it's a large site to look after and we always aim to balance the needs of our visitors with those of the environment, whist still providing our visitors with a great day out.

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