Set in 25 acres of woodland between Wareham and Corfe Castle, the Blue Pool derives its name from the striking turquoise colour the water this disused clay pit can appear.
A former clay pit, Blue Pool has become one of Dorset’s most intriguing attractions, with its ever-changing kaleidoscope of colours in the water delighting visitors since it first opened to the public in 1935.
The 30-foot deep pool was hand-dug in the 1800s and sits within 150 acres of land as part of the Furzebrook Estate and is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Despite being called the ‘Blue’ Pool, the name can be something of a misnomer – whilst the water can be a bright turquoise blue at times, the lake also appears as green, grey and even reddish-brown – making return visits a must in order to capture its dynamic beauty. These changes are due to light diffraction from the clay particles within the pool.
The pool may also appear a darker, more inky blue, depending on the time of day and the weather, and how the sky is reflected on its still surface.
You’ll find trails of varying lengths leading around the Blue Pool Nature Reserve and into its surrounding woodland, all culminating at the tearoom and gift shop.
There are two main ways to explore the Blue Pool. Both trails offer excellent views of the pool itself, as well as interesting trails along which to spot wildlife.
The Red Route is accessible and suitable for both wheelchairs and pushchairs.
The path leads you through the woodland, with various impressive viewpoints along the way to view the pool from different angles as it catches the light.
The Green Route meanders through the trees and around the base of the pool and includes some steps and uneven ground.
Family fun – search for squirrels and fairies in the trees
See if you can spot all the squirrels hiding in the branches, and the fairy doors dotted around the woodland.
Fairy door hunt
Whenever you see a toadstool in the woods, you know there’s a secret fairy door nearby.
Here are some we found – see if you can find the rest on your visit.
Look up high in the trees around the Blue Pool and you’ll find two kinds of squirrels – the ones for your quiz sheet, and maybe some real ones too…and see if you can spot a very happy tree!
Nestled within a small clearing in the trees is a woodland play area complete with a slide set into a hill, a roundabout and swings.
There is also wooden play equipment to test your balancing skills.
The play area is easy to find along both the green and the red walking routes and is a stone’s throw from the café, so you can refuel after burning off all that energy.
The Blue Pool & Tearooms is home to an array of wildlife that thrive in this SSSI. Keep an eye out for grey squirrels, dragonflies and skin deer.
Near to the pool itself you might spot a rare sand lizard – the Furzebrook Estate, of which The Blue Pool is part of, supports 4% of the UK’s sand lizard population. Sand lizards are also resident in Wareham Forest and at Studland Bay, which is famously home to all six native British reptiles.
Birds such as the Dartford warbler and buzzards can also be seen. Badgers and owls also call The Blue Pool home.
The Blue Pool is open daily from 10am – 4.30pm.
Dogs are welcome at the Blue Pool, but must be kept on a lead at all times.
Ticket prices include parking, which is situated at the entrance to the pool.
- Adults £5
- Children aged five – 18 £2.50
Under fives are free.
An annual pass allows you the freedom to enjoy Blue Pool whenever you like, throughout the year.
Friends of The Blue Pool Season ticket prices:
- One adult: £50
- Two adults/joint membership: £90
- Children aged between five and 18: £25
- Family Membership for up to adults and two children: £130
Stay at The Blue Pool
If you’re looking for accommodation in Purbeck in a stunning, natural setting, check out the Blue Pool’s new campsite.
It’s an intimate, six-tent area on two acres of land on the Furzebrook Estate, with ready-installed bell tents offering back-to-basics (with a bit of luxury!) camping.
Bell tents are either two-man (double bed or twin beds) or four-man, with one double bed and two singles. Each pitch has its own long-drop composting toilet, fresh drinking/cooking water, a fire pit (with initial supply of logs and kindling) and solar-powered lighting. All tents have their own outdoor seating area and inside each is a table and chairs, so you can have that camping experience without having to erect your own tent and lug all the heavy bits with you (you will need to bring bedding and cooking utensils).
The camping season at The Blue Pool currently runs from June to October.
Prices for 18 June – 22 July:
- £85 per night for a four metre/two-man bell tent
- £100 per night for a five metre/ four man/family tent
From 23 July – 31 October:
- £100 a night )two-man)
- £120 a night (family)
Contact details for The Blue Pool
Visit The Blue Pool’s website or get in touch to find out more about your visit, annual membership, or for campsite booking enquiries:
- ℹ️ bluepooltearooms.co.uk
- 📞 01929 558150 (or 077304 85558 out of hours)
- 📥 firstname.lastname@example.org
How to get there
Postcode for your SatNav: BH20 5AR
If you’re coming from Wareham, or travelling from further afield such as Poole or Bournemouth, simply follow the brown signs from the Stoborough roundabout on the A351 as you leave Wareham.
Follow the road through Furzebrook for around a mile (which itself has some interesting walks across Stoborough Heath) until you see a sign to your left for The Blue Pool.
If you’re coming from Swanage, take the first left off the A351 at the Furzebrook/Stoborough roundabout and follow directions along Furzebrook Road as above.
The numbers 30 and 40 buses stop at the end of Blue Pool Lane, however there is around a ten minute walk to the entrance of the Blue Pool from there.
On-site parking is free.
There is a large parking area outside the Blue Pool, with a grassy area which is often used for picnicking.
Being situated in all that woodland you might be lucky enough to see deer grazing nearby.
For your own safety and for the protection of wildlife at Blue Pool, the following guidelines are in place. (Note that fishing is also prohibited and not possible).
Can I swim in The Blue Pool?
For your safety, swimming is not permitted at the Blue Pool, which reaches 30ft in depth at its deepest point.
Children should be supervised at all times and dogs must be kept on a lead throughout the reserve.
The water is not safe for bathing and is for viewing only.
Can I bring a BBQ?
Due to the high risk of wildfires, barbecues are strictly forbidden.
There are however many picnic spots and benches dotted around the pool and within the woodland.
Snacks and lunches are also available from Blue Pool’s Tearooms & Coffee House.
An inspirational setting for creatives
This unusual beauty spot, hidden away on the Isle of Purbeck has inspired many artists over the years, such as Augustus John and Paul Nash, both of whom have local connections in Dorset.
Blue Pool is still popular with artists and creatives today due to its captivating and tranquil location. If you visit on a Saturday during the summer, look out for this friendly group – Purbeck Crafts has been coming to Blue Pool for some al-fresco knitting, spinning and weaving for over five years.
Nearby arts & crafts workshops and classes
If being surrounded by the abundant nature at Blue Pool inspires you to try something new, there are plenty of options nearby to try your hand at a nature-inspired craft, such as pottery, drawing or sewing.
Classes, courses and workshops include:
- Pottery and ceramics
- Collograph and linocut printing
- Art classes in drawing and painting techniques
- Jewellery-making with silver clay
- Sewing and quilting for beginners and advanced
Check class availability at Furzebrook Studios: furzebrookstudios.com/classes/
Metal Clay Ltd
Based in Wareham, Metal Clay Ltd offers courses in silver clay jewellery-making, from beginner to advanced with visiting, international tutors.
Try a taster session or book onto a masterclass course: www.metalclay.co.uk/courses-1/
The Creative Garden Room
Offering seasonal craft workshops in Wareham, the Creative Garden Room runs small group sessions using natural materials and outdoor inspiration.
Previous projects have included:
- Wire dragonfly, angel and snail-making
- Willow reindeer workshop
- Plant your own herb garden
- Festive wreath and Christmas decorations
See what their next craft workshop is: www.thecreativegardenroom.co.uk/index.html
The Wareham Bears at the Blue Pool
The Blue Pool was famously home to the whimsical Wareham Bears for many years. Prior to being here at Furzebrook, the display of over 200 bears have also lived at venues in Wiltshire, Norfolk and Somerset.
This charming collection was created during the 1970 and ’80s by a lady called Mary Hildesley who lived in nearby Encombe. She initially bought a few bears from Harrods and crafted outfits for each one.
The collection then evolved into many hundreds and Mary commissioned a bear ‘dolls’ house to be made to house them and to delight her grandchildren when they visited.
The Wareham Bears have taken their fond memories of their special time at Blue Pool to their new home at Wimborne Model Town.
Visit The Wareham Bears at Wimborne Model Town:
- 📍 King Street, Wimborne Minster BH21 1DY
- ℹ️ www.wimborne-modeltown.com
- 📞 01202 881924
The Blue Pools of Britain
Our Blue Pool here in Dorset isn’t the only relic of the UK’s mining and mineral extraction history. There are various other disused clay pits dotted across the UK, which, now flooded, have also become beauty spots and havens for wildlife.
Some, such as Cornwall’s Lansalsen pit – an old old china clay pit – have a well-known history closely linked to the area, whereas others, such as the Torwood Blue Pool in Scotland (known simply as ‘the Blue Pool’ to locals) are somewhat of a mystery.
Other disused clay pits of interest include those of Glastry Ponds in County Down, Far Ings National Nature Reserve in Lincolnshire and Morley Brickyards in Derbyshire.