discovering Dorset

Arne is a large village in the Purbeck district of Dorset. The nearest town is Wareham which lies around 4 miles to the west.

The name Arne is believed to derive from the Saxon "Aerne" meaning 'an abode or secret place'. Arne would have been owned by Shaftesbury Abbey from about 948AD. Visitors to the reserve may walk past the 13th Century church called St. Nicholas which was built by order of the Abbess of Shaftesbury, Ethelgeva (King Alfred's daughter).

Adjacent to the village lies the RSPB nature reserve which comprises of a large heathland and oak woodland. It is a very popular place for family walks and the RSPB organise family activities designed to inform about the heaths.

The reserve overlooks Poole Harbour and lies within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


In summer Dartford Warblers can be seen nesting in the heather. Nightjars (summer) can be seen flying at dusk. 22 species of colourful dragonflies. In the harbour: wading birds, ducks (avocets, black-tailed godwits), swans. Brent geese Migrating Ospreys in late summer/autumn. Peregrines.

Things To Do There:

Great for walking and hiking along the nature trails.

Dogs allowed (provided under close control). Must be kept on short lead whilst on Open Access ground (between 01-Mar & 31-Aug).

Enjoying the beach - plenty of space and some picnic tables.

Organised Events: see the DorsetMap events section.


Car parking (charges apply-Free for RSPB members)

Toilets at car park.


Contact Information:

(01929) 553 360

Enquiries: (Include an A5 SAE)

The Warden



Arne, Wareham

Dorset BH20 5BJ

Further Information:

Wikipedia: Arne

RSPB: Arne

Location Map:

Arne Nature Reserve

Local Weather Forecast: