Bestwall Marsh

A walk around marsh grazing featuring saline water meadows, saltmarsh, extensive reed-bed, a tidal river and more!   

Site Name Bestwall Marsh
Protection
  • Open Access
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
5
County Dorset
More Information
SSSI SSSI details
Site Projects Wareham Wanders 2022
Bestwall Marsh

Bestwall Marsh: best of wall walks

Lying to the north of the River Frome as it heads out from Wareham along its channel in to Poole Harbour, Bestwall Marsh, Swineham Point and the gravel pit are popular with local birders in winter as the range of habitat can produce an interesting array of wildfowl and wetland birds. The marsh is damp, drained grassland that floods readily after heavy rain and to the left of the path there is a large finished gravel extraction and many ducks and geese gather there. At the end of the path you find a large reed bed at Swineham Point which is home to several Cetti's warblers as well as reed and sedge warblers in summer. This is a good spot for marsh harriers in winter and also osprey in the autumn.

The influence of the marsh and river means there is a varied flora and the cleanness of the air enables lichens to thrive and the shrubs alongside the path are festooned with them; it is worth the walk just to see them!

In winter the path can become very muddy in places so make sure you have the right footwear. The fitter naturalist may want to turn this into a circular walk and take in the north bank of the river Frome from near the Priory Hotel and then on to Swineham Point and around the end of the gravel pit and back across the River Piddle water meadows to the Wareham Walls and in to Bestwall Road. This is a documented, guided walk called "The Two Rivers Walk". A leaflet is available from the library in South Street I believe.

Bestwall Marsh

50.691026140411, -2.084461521038
Open Access, Site of Scientific Interest
5
These are the habitat types that MAY be present on the site based on the species recorded there (top 10 only shown):
Phase 1 Habitat Types Description No of Species
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

15
B3

Calcareous Grassland

14
F2

Water Margin & Inundation Vegetation

14
J1

Cultivated/disturbed land

12
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
A2

Scrub

11
B2

Neutral Grassland

9
B5

Marsh/marshy Grassland

8
E3

Fen and carr

8
H6

Sand Dunes

8
These are the number of species for NVC codes on the site - it DOES NOT mean that the NVC community is actually present on the site: it might be! (Top 10 only shown):
NVC Community Description No of Species
W08

Fraxinus excelsior - Acer campestre - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Field Maple/Dog's Mercury] woodland

24
W10

Quercus robur - Pteridium aquilinum - Rubus fruticosus [Pedunculate Oak/Bracken/Bramble] woodland

21
W09

Fraxinus excelsior - Sorbus aucuparia - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Rowan/Dog's Mercury] woodland

19
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

18
W07

Alnus - Fraxinus - Lysimachia nemorum [Alder/Ash/Yellow Pimpernel] woodland

14
MG05

Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigra [Crested Dogs-tail/Black knapweed] grassland

12
M23

Juncus effusus - Galium palustre [Soft Rush/Marsh Bedstraw] rush pasture

12
M27

Filipendula ulmaria - Angelica sylvestris [Meadowsweet/Wild Angelica] mire

12
M28

Iris pseudacorus - Filipendula ulmaria [Yellow Iris/Meadowsweet] mire

11
W21

Crataegus monogyna - Hedera helix [Hawthorn/Ivy] scrub

10
Site Notables
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4
Site Diary
Diary Date Notes Project Click for records and photos
16-06-20

Sunny afternoon with occasional cloud and really quite warm:

  • Cetti's warbler, reed warbler and sedge warbler all in good voice
  • Path lined with flowers but dominated by hemlock water-dropwort
  • But again, very few insects, especially butterflies
view
The number of species recorded per species group: