1. RIVER BRIT (Bridport to West Bay)
- Location: This is one of my favourite paddles and is approximately a 4 km round trip from Bridport to West Bay and back, paddling past Melplash showground.
- Level: You’ll need to know what you’re doing for this spot, as you paddle round bends, under trees and against the wind at times. Also, would recommend wearing a buoyancy aid and waist leash.
- Access: Park at the Bridport football ground car park. £1 for one hour, £2.20 for 2 hours and free on Sunday (according to Google). You’ll need to cross the road and launch on the river by Palmer’s Brewery. It’s a bit rocky getting in, so go careful. Note: I don’t believe you need a licence to paddle on this stretch of the river.
- Top Tip: Paddle towards West Bay and moor up and check out the little foody huts at West Bay or even stop for a drink at The Rise pub. Remember to take money with you!
2. OLD HARRY ROCKS (Middle Beach to Old Harry Rocks)
- Location: Old Harry Rocks is one of the most picturesque areas of the stunning Jurassic Coast near Studland.
- Level: Intermediate. You’ll need to know what you’re doing when it comes to reading the wind and tides. We went with a guide from Apex Expedition as part of a package for my birthday.
- Access: If you’re an early bird you could park on the road near The Pig Hotel – Manor Road / Beach Road. There is also a car park nearby and then head down to Middle Beach.
- Top Tip: Set the alarm early for an early sunrise SUP – you won’t regret it. Take it all in when you’re paddling around Old Harrys and make sure you dock up and take a wander on the beach.
- If you like the sound of this paddle, you can read more here from when I headed there with my best friend for a surprise birthday SUP.
3. LITTON LAKES
- Location: A beautiful campsite and lakes near Burton Bradstock amongst the ducks! You’ll need to book an online pass to SUP or swim. A half-day pass costs £5.
- Level: It’s very sheltered and doesn’t get too windy – perfect for finding your paddleboard legs again if you’re new to the sport or have little ones.
- Access: Parking is close to the lakes and it’s really easy to get on and off the lake.
- Top Tip: Grab a coffee and yummy cake at the Purple Turtle café afterwards.
4. SANDSFOOT CASTLE AND BEACH
- Location: Where else can you say you’ve paddled near a castle (well ruins)? This idyllic spot is located between Weymouth and Portland
- Level: Sandsfoot Beach is pretty sheltered so would be okay for all levels of paddleboarding, if you do paddle around to Sandsfoot Castle stay close to the coastline.
- Access: Parking gets very busy along Old Castle Road, so this one is great for an early sunrise SUP.
- Top Tip: Go early to grab a parking space and if you do get a chance pop along to the Sandsfoot café for a post-SUP coffee and cake
5. LULWORTH COVE
- Location: The iconic Lulworth Cove on the Jurassic Coast needs no introduction. It’s breathtaking from all angles and is on many paddleboarders’ places-to-visit lists.
- Level: If you stay within Lulworth Cove which is sheltered it would be suitable for beginners, if you venture outside and along to Durdle Door you will need to make sure you’re a confident paddleboarder and have the correct equipment. There are often guided SUPs along the Jurassic Coast which you can find online.
- Access: Park at Lulworth Cove car park. It’s £5.20 for 4 hours on Just Park. You can inflate your boards in the car park and then walk down to the Cove to launch.
- Top Tip: It’s worth going early for sunrise and beating the crowds. When the sea is calm it’s great for sea dipping and swimming. You might also spot the odd celeb – Fearne Cotton is a huge fan of the positive mental health effects of sea swimming.
Have you SUPed / paddleboarded in any of these locations before? Where’s your favourite place to SUP in Dorset? Drop a comment below.
Note: Before you decide to head out SUPing / paddleboarding please check if your location needs a permit to launch and of course be careful of the weather and respect the water. Here are a few wise notes before you head out SUPing:
- Wear a suitable leash – either ankle or waist depending on the water flow.
- Wear a buoyancy aid – Palm Equipment have some great ones.
- Check the weather before heading out as it can change quickly.
- Tell someone your paddling route and timings.
- Check if you need a permit to launch.
- Understand your paddling environment.
- Have a way of being able to self-rescue.