Christchurch and East Dorset

Sports and other activities

We have seen how physical activities for visitors can be divided into ‘soft adventure’ – walking, cycling, fishing and so on – and more active sports such as sailing and other watersports.  As in the rest of the county there are several places to enjoy these activities.

Fishing and Mudeford Quay

In Christchurch at Mudeford Quay you can buy shellfish and fish straight out of the water – or even go crabbing off the quay wall (there are kits for sale, but really all you need is a string, a weight and a bucket).  A focal point for visitors here is The Quay Head – a group of historic buildings at the very end of the Quay including the Haven House Inn which has a popular café and gift shop.  The Quay is a sailing and windsurfing centre, and the beaches at Avon and Friars Cliff are accessed from here via Gundimore Promenade.

Cycle routes 

There are lots of excellent cycle routes at all levels across East Dorset.   Details of these can all be found on the VisitDorset website, where you can download them as a pdf.  Do you know which one of these is closest to you?  Have you ever tried it?

Castleman Trailway Totally off road and flat, and passes through Moors Valley Country Park.
Badbury Rings The route passes through the Kingston Lacy Estate and ends at Badbury Rings.
Witchampton Quite long, but passes by the Long Crichel Bakery is a great stop for Hedgehog bread!
Horton Tower Circular Runs alongside Holt Heath (on a clear day you can see the Isle of Wight).
Sixpenny Handley Runs down to Ackling Dyke, the old Roman road.
Cranborne Chaser Runs past Stephens Castle Nature Reserve to Cranborne.

Nature lovers

Below the high peak of Hengistbury Head, right on the borders of East Dorset and Bournemouth and easily accessed from Mudeford Sandbank, is the Stanpit Marsh Local Nature Reserve, a year-round attraction where visitors can see exotic birds rare plants, otters and even New Forest ponies.

Water sports and water fun

Away from the coast, on the edge of East Dorset where it meets Hampshire, is the New Forest Water Park, which has the South’s first Cable Wakeboard System and the UK’s first Inflatable Sports Aqua Park. Visitors can enjoy many other watersport activities here including wakeboarding, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.


Snowtrax is another activity centre where visitors can improve their skiing skills on a dry ski slope.  It is good for families and children too, an opportunity to ride Ski Bobs or spin down the slopes in a Ringo. There is also a large outdoor play centre and an Alpine-style bar.


That’s great – now you can now take the quiz for this module.  Press ‘Mark Complete’ and you will be taken there.  Or alternatively it can be accessed on the Course overview page – and if you pass you will be a Dorset Ambassador and can print your certificate!