Fiddleford is south of Sturminster Newton on the A350 – GR 50.92150428257191, -2.28475498910359
1. When accessing this stretch via the convenient Fiddleford Manor carpark, you approach this venue at Fiddleford Mill Pool. The pool and it’s surroundings is a really beautiful spot for a day’s fishing but note that there are not that many available swims at the pool itself. The pool is deepest ,(14-16ft) ,along the upstream wall side and among the LH bank. The water shallows gradually as you look across from the LH bank to the far side and in general becomes increasingly weedy towards the far bank, although the winter floods clear much of the weed away. The pool is good for perch, roach, dace, bream – slabs & skimmers, chub and pike. It can throw up the odd surprise hard-fighting carp or tench but these are rare exceptions.
The banks are steep and can be very slippery in winter. A long-handled landing net is a necessity if you are are safely going to land a decent fish. The LH bank is a favourite for dog walkers so keep your fishing tackle/bait close to hand to avoid unwanted attention. The pool has an electricity generating turbine on the far RH bank. This can be very troublesome at times, as it can cut-in/cut-out without warning and in doing so can dramatically alter the height of the water/direction of the currents in the pool within 15 minutes and ruin your swim. It can similarly affect the height of the water in the river down to the Trail Bridge and beyond.
2. The RH bank upstream of the pool is known as the Sowley stretch. It is accessed by bearing left at the gate at the upstream end of Fiddleford Pool. This stretch has a good depth of water, with a 10ft average at the lower and ends, with some swims of 14ft in the middle sections. Chub, (under the trees in the middle and upper sections), roach, rudd, perch and pike are all found along Sowley, with larger bream often showing in post-flood conditions. At the end of the stretch is a wide deep bend where a double-figure pike may be encountered. Sowley offers comfortable swims for fishing with the pole.
3. Below Fiddleford Pool, the river can be fished on both the LH and RH banks. The river is about 6 feet deep until it approaches the Trail Bridge where the river rapidly shelves to become much deeper where the footings for the original railway bridge were excavated. On the YouTube links you can watch Jack Hargreaves tackling a swim in the mid-eighties and Mark Wintle retracing his footsteps in 2020 in pursuit of a nice roach or chub. The deep water at the bridge is a favourite shoaling point for roach during the winter months when the water temperature drops. Pike and perch are attracted to the area for this reason.
4. Below the bridge, the LH bank can be fished along this meandering stretch of the river as far as Wesper Brook. The RH bank is accessible right down to Hammoon although it’s a long trek down from Fiddleford. This section of the river is shallower for the most part but there are some deeper swims to be found. There are more otters on this stretch, as there are far fewer dog-walkers and so less for the otter to be wary of. This section is good for the wandering chub angler who wants to spend a session moving from swim to swim with a quiver tip. The chub are largely solitary in swims here so it pays to keep moving if you land a fish.
Parking & Access
The Sowley and Fiddleford stretches are accessed from the main carpark at Fiddleford Manor where there is good free parking. If travelling from the south along the A350 from Blandford continue through Shillingstone village and after about 2 miles you find a very sharp left-hand bend in the road with the Fiddleford Inn on you right. Continue along the A3500 for approx. 300yds and you will see a small lane on your right marked by an English Heritage to Fiddleford Manor.
SAT NAV Postcode : DT10 2BX
Latitude : 50.921495 Longitude : -2.284392.
Continue down the uneven single track road with care and you will find the car park entrance on your left.
Always park with consideration of others.
Do Not leave any valuables/fishing tackle on display in your parked car.
Mark Wintle retraces the footsteps of Jack Hargreaves in October 2020 and attempts to recreate Jack’s session 37 years later…
Fiddleford pool in high summer
The Fiddleford pool turbine swim can be productive if the conditions are right. Here the water is running low on November 1st 2019 and the swim was fishing well. More often in the autumn and winter it is a raging torrent