|Official name||Poole Harbour|
|Designated||22 July 1999|
Poole Harbour is a large natural harbour in Dorset, southern England, with the town of Poole on its shores. The harbour is a drowned valley (ria) formed at the end of the last ice age and is the estuary of several rivers, the largest being the Frome. The harbour has a long history of human settlement stretching to pre-Roman times. The harbour is extremely shallow (average depth 48 cm [19 in]), with one main dredged channel through the harbour, from the mouth to Holes Bay.
Poole Harbour has an area of approximately 36 km2 (14 sq mi).
In 1964 during harbour dredging, the waterlogged remains of a 2000-year-old Iron Age logboat were found off Brownsea Island. Dated at about 295 BC, the 10 metres (33 ft) Poole Logboat is one of the largest vessels of its type from British waters. Its low freeboard would have limited its use to within Poole Harbour.
Poole was used by the Romans as an invasion port for the conquest of southern England, who established the settlement at Hamworthy, now the western half of Poole. A Roman Road ran north from Hamworthy to Badbury Rings, a Roman transport hub. At the time of the Norman Conquest, Poole was a small fishing village.
The port grew, and in 1433 Poole was made Dorset's Port of the Staple for the export of wool. Medieval Poole had trading links from the Baltics to Italy. In the 17th century, the town began trading with North America, in particular Newfoundland, and the town became very wealthy. In the 18th century, Poole was the principal British port trading with North America. At the start of the 19th century, 90% of Poole's population's employment was directly dependent on the harbour, but this dropped to 20% during the century as the railways reached the town, and deep-hulled boats moved up the coast to Southampton, which had a deeper harbour and is closer to London. With regular dredging of a channel through the harbour, it has regained some importance.
The longest ship to enter the harbour is DFDS/LD Lines 186.5 metre Norman Voyager on 15 October 2013, with the second longest being the 167-metre Armorique of Brittany Ferries, which arrived in the port for the first time on 2 February 2010. The previous holder of that title was the 151-metre Bretagne, which arrived in the port for the first time on 27 February 2007.
The entrance to Poole Harbour is from the east, via Poole Bay and the English Channel. Entering the harbour, heading west, on either side are the shores of Studland beach (south west) and Sandbanks (in particular, the Haven Hotel and the peninsula, north east). Directly ahead are several islands, the largest of which is Brownsea Island.
Following the harbour anti-clockwise, heading north-east passes the built up residential settlements of Poole including Lilliput and Parkstone (east). About 4 miles (6.4 km) north-west of the entrance of the harbour is the entrance to Poole Quay and the Holes Bay (see below). Directly west of the main part of Poole is Hamworthy. Continuing anti-clockwise, heading west around the Harbour are the settlements of Upton and Wareham, as well as the outlet of the River Piddle. This area of water within the Harbour is known as Wareham Channel and includes other places such as Rockley Sands.
Continuing anti-clockwise, now heading south are the majority of the islands within the Harbour as well as several small channels and inlets. To the west is Arne Bay and the Wych channel. The majority of land in this area is heathland, and there are few settlements, as opposed to the eastern part of the Harbour. Directly south is Long Island, Round Island and Ower Bay. Green Island, Furzey Island and Brownsea Island (in that order) are to the east, with Newton Bay and Brands Bay (this area has several oil wells) to the south. This area of water is known as the South Deep. Continuing anti-clockwise comes back to the entrance to the Harbour and to Poole Bay, with Studland beach immediately south-east.
Holes Bay is a tidal inland lake which lies to the north of Poole Harbour. It is a designated harbour quiet area. The entrance to the bay is a small inlet from the main harbour. Spanning the inlet are two bridges: Poole Bridge and the new Twin Sails Bridge; the latter officially opened in 2012 and cost around £37,000,000. Access to Holes Bay for vessels with a draft greater than 2 metres (6.6 ft) is only possible when the bridges are lifted, which occurs several fixed times daily and sometimes on request. The new bridge is intended to help reduce traffic jams by ensuring at least one bridge is open to vehicular traffic at any one time.
Holes Bay is the location of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) training school, attached to their Poole headquarters. Uses of the bay include fishing, kayaking and small leisure craft. A large marina known as Cobbs Quay is on the west side of the bay. On its east side the bay runs parallel to the A350.
Poole Harbour is the location of a number of islands, of various sizes. These islands include:
The harbour lies on a band of weak gravel and clay which is easily eroded by the rivers and sea. This band is bordered by two bands of chalk, the Purbeck Hills and Isle of Wight to the south, and the Dorset Downs and South Downs to the north. The clay extends west up the Frome valley to Dorchester, and would originally have extended east beyond Portsmouth in Hampshire. Before the last ice age the River Frome continued to flow east through what is now the Solent, joining the Stour, Beaulieu, Test, Itchen and Hamble, before flowing into the English Channel to the east of the present day Isle of Wight. A relatively resistant chalk ridge ran continuously from the Purbeck Hills to the Isle of Wight, which the rivers could not break through. When the glaciers of the north of the island of Great Britain melted, the south of England sank slightly, flooding the Solent valley and Southampton Water to form their characteristic rias (flooded estuaries). About 7,000 years ago, increased erosion from the sea and the increased flow caused by the change in climate broke through the chalk hills, cutting the Isle of Wight off from the Isle of Purbeck and flooding what is now the Solent and Christchurch Bay, leaving Poole Harbour as the estuary of the Frome.
Once a major port, freight transport has declined, but the port is still served by regular cross-Channel passenger ferries, with Brittany Ferries offering a passenger and freight service to Cherbourg. Condor Ferries operate to the Channel Islands and St Malo as well as joint high-speed service with Brittany Ferries to Cherbourg.
Coastal trading vessels are also frequent visitors, unloading various cargos on the quaysides at Hamworthy, and fleet of fishing vessels operates from the south end of Poole Quay. There is considerable leisure usage of the harbour, by a combination of yachts and other private craft, cruise boats that ply the harbour, and ferries that provide a passenger link to Brownsea Island. The harbour is managed by the Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC), who represent all aspects of commercial and leisure activity in the harbour. Their duties include maintaining the shipping channels for the ferries and cargo vessels, enforcing harbour speed limits, improving port facilities and assisting with nature conservation.
In November 2005 the main shipping channels into the harbour and the Port of Poole were dredged to accommodate modern ferries at all states of the tide. The project was carried out by Van Oord, and on completion the depth had been increased from 6 metres (20 ft) to 7.5 metres (25 ft). Approximately 1.8 million cubic metres of sand and silt were dredged from the approach channels to the Harbour and port, and 1.1 million m3 was made available to the local beaches of Poole, Bournemouth and Purbeck for beach replenishment.
Poole Harbour Commissioners define the main shipping channels, in which leisure craft should take care, as :
As well as the commercial activity discussed above, Poole is a major centre for sailing and motor boating.
There is an enormous number of moorings in the harbour, and many places to anchor.
Much of the north side of the harbour is a built-up area, including the town of Poole, and the conurbation which continues 10 miles (16 km) eastwards along the coast. The west and south sides of the harbour and part of the Purbeck Heritage Coast are important wildlife havens, as are the five large islands in the harbour, which are home to the endangered red squirrel. The harbour is an area of international importance for wildlife conservation and borders three National Nature Reserves, including the internationally important Studland and Godlingston Heath NNR, and a number of local and non-statutory nature reserves run by organisations such as the National Trust and RSPB, notably Arne. The mouth of the harbour is partially blocked by Sandbanks, a spit on the north, which is built up and part of Poole, and by Studland to the south, which is another important wildlife area.
Four rivers drain into Poole harbour, the largest being the River Frome, which flows from the west through Dorchester and Wareham. The harbour is very shallow in places and has extensive mud flat and salt marsh habitats, as well as muddy and sandy shores and seagrass meadows. The area is an extremely popular recreation and tourism area, and local authorities and organisations have to carefully manage the tourism to prevent damage to the habitats.
The south shore of the harbour, including Wytch Heath and Godlingstone Heath, is open heathland of little agricultural use. During the 20th century there was some afforestation with conifer plantations. Around Wareham Forest in the west this has been for commercial forestry, but on the southern shore the plantations conceal the Wytch Farm oil wells.
Three bird species occur in internationally important numbers: common shelduck, pied avocet and black-tailed godwit. Other notable visitors include spoonbill, Sandwich tern and whimbrel. Once rare, little egrets are now seen regularly and in increasing numbers.
Due to the ever-increasing popularity of pleasure boating in the United Kingdom, the harbour has seen a rapid increase in the private ownership of pleasure vessels over the past decade, most of which are housed in private marinas around the harbour. Due to this increase, Poole has seen a rise in the number of maritime-oriented businesses.
With the popularity of watersports such as water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing and kitesurfing, Poole Harbour Commissioners have designated areas within the harbour almost exclusively for sport participation – virtually unrestricted from most regular harbour rules. Poole is also fortunate in that wind conditions are variable; wind conditions can be calm for sports such as wakeboarding, and a short while later strong for sports such as windsurfing. Most of these sports benefit from the harbour's generally flat water conditions. As a result, local watersport businesses operate around the harbour.
Bere Stream (grid reference SY860926) is an 11.2 hectare biological Site of Special Scientific Interest in Dorset, notified in 1977.Brownsea Island
Brownsea Island (also archaically known as Branksea) is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour in the county of Dorset, England. The island is owned by the National Trust. Much of the island is open to the public and includes areas of woodland and heath with a wide variety of wildlife, together with cliff top views across Poole Harbour and the Isle of Purbeck.
The island was the location of an experimental camp in 1907 that led to the formation of the Scout movement the following year. Access is by public ferry or private boat; in 2017 the island received 133,340 visitors. The island's name comes from Anglo-Saxon Brūnoces īeg = "Brūnoc's island".Hamworthy
Hamworthy is a parish and inner suburb of Poole in Dorset, England. It is sited on a peninsula of approximately 3 square kilometres (1.2 sq mi) that is bordered by Upton to the north, Poole Harbour to the south, Lytchett Bay to the west and Holes Bay to the east. Poole Bridge, the southern terminus of the A350 road, connects the suburb with the town centre. Hamworthy is the location of the Port of Poole ferry passenger terminal and cargo handling operations. Hamworthy has two local councillors in Poole Borough Council, one for Hamworthy East, and one for Hamworthy West. In Hamworthy there are six main areas, Rockley (where Royal Marines Poole and Holiday Park are), Turlin Moor Estate, Lower Hamworthy (where Poole Docks are), Cobbs Quay/Harbourside (Which looks out over Holes Bay), Lake Side (where the Metalbox Factory is located) and Central Hamworthy (Location of the Main Road, Co-Op and Church area).
Hamworthy was the site of an Iron Age settlement before it was taken over by the Romans in the 1st century and named Moriconium. The Romans made use of the harbour, and built a road from Hamworthy to Badbury Rings.
The closure of the power station in the early 1990s and of other industrial sites close to the bridge has provided an area for regeneration. This included a second bridge crossing, and major house building. The Twin Sails Bridge, opened in March 2012 runs alongside the old lifting bridge.
Hamworthy has a railway station, with a twice hourly South Western Railway service to London Waterloo on the South Western Main Line.History of Poole
The history of Poole, a town in Dorset, England, can be traced back to the founding of a settlement around Poole Harbour during the Iron Age. The town now known as Poole was founded on a small peninsula to the north of the harbour. Poole experienced rapid growth as it became an important port following the Norman Conquest of England.Holes Bay
Holes Bay is an intertidal embayment off Poole Harbour in the county of Dorset on the south coast of England. It lies mostly within the Borough of Poole and is close to Poole town centre. It is an important wetland bird haven.Lilliput, Dorset
Lilliput is a district of Poole, Dorset. It borders on Sandbanks, Canford Cliffs, Lower Parkstone, and Whitecliff and has a shoreline within Poole Harbour with views of Brownsea Island and the Purbeck Hills.
Brownsea Island stands opposite Lilliput's harbour foreshore and is famous as the birthplace of Baden Powell's International Scouting Movement. Lilliput itself was host to a number of early scouting camps. During the Second World War at one stage it provided Britain's only civilian air route: Poole Harbour was temporary home to the Imperial Airways/BOAC flying boat fleet, which had its passenger HQ at Salterns.Well known residents have included modernist writer Mary Butts, a very young John le Carre and disc-jockey Tony Blackburn. Impresario Fred Karno who popularised the custard-pie-in-the-face comedy routine spent his last years in the village as a part-owner of an off-licence, bought with financial help from Charlie Chaplin, and died here in 1941 aged 75.List of islands of England
This is a list of islands of England (excluding the mainland which is itself a part of the island of Great Britain), as well as a table of the largest English islands by area and by population.Parkstone
Parkstone is an area of Poole, Dorset. It is divided into 'Lower' and 'Upper' Parkstone. Upper Parkstone - "Up-on-'ill" as it used to be known in local parlance - is so-called because it is largely on higher ground slightly to the north of the lower-lying area of Lower Parkstone - "The Village" - which includes areas adjacent to Poole Harbour.
Because of the proximity to the shoreline, and the more residential nature of Lower Parkstone, it is the more sought-after district, and originally included Lilliput and the Sandbanks Peninsula (now part of Canford Cliffs) within its official bounds. Lower Parkstone is centred on Ashley Cross, the original location of Parkstone Grammar School, near to the Parish Church of St. Peter. Despite the residential reputation, Parkstone was the site of several industrial undertakings, the largest being George Jennings South Western Pottery, a manufacturer of salt-glaze drainage and sanitary pipes, which had its own steam locomotive, that ran on a private branch line from Parkstone Station. Much of this area was agricultural until the 1920s and 1930s.
Upper Parkstone includes large areas of smaller artisan housing, the shopping district along Ashley Road and the parish church of St. John's, Heatherlands. There are larger properties, however, and the views from this higher part of the suburb across Poole Harbour to the Purbeck Hills are quite remarkable. Many photographs taken over the years from the Seaview viewpoint (overlooking much of Poole centre and Harbour) exist as postcards, and can be used to chart the changes to the area.Poole Bay
Poole Bay is a bay in the English Channel, on the coast of Dorset in southern England, which stretches 16 km from Sandbanks at the mouth of Poole Harbour in the west, to Hengistbury Head in the east. Poole Bay is a relatively shallow embayment and consists of steep sandstone cliffs and several 'chines' that allow easy access to the sandy beaches below. The coast along the bay is continuously built up, and is part of the South East Dorset conurbation, including parts of the towns of Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch. The bay is often erroneously referred to as Bournemouth Bay, because much of it is occupied by Bournemouth.
In terms of sand on England's south coast the bay presents the longest stretch; much exceeded by the total to the west across numerous bays and coves but greater than the three such stretches to the east, Avon Beach, West Wittering and Camber Sands.Poole Park
Poole Park is an urban park adjacent to Poole Harbour in Poole, Dorset, England. The park was opened during the Victorian era and has remained popular with visitors ever since. It is open all year round and hosts a number of events.River Cerne
The River Cerne is a ten mile long river in Dorset, England, which rises in the Chalk hills of the Dorset Downs at Minterne Magna, between High Stoy and Dogbury Hill, flows down a valley through Cerne Abbas and Charminster, and flows into the River Frome in Dorchester. The Cerne Valley lies in the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Cerne has been described as "a friendly river, for none of its delightful villages shun the stream". Another wrote, "The change from the sheep-grazed open downland landscape of the river’s source to the intimate enclosed beauty of Minterne Gardens is quite magical".
The river's valley is one of several roughly parallel valleys which drain the dip slope of the Dorset Downs. The Cerne Valley Way is a circular walk taking in the aforementioned hamlets and villages, as well as Nether Cerne, Godmanstone and Forston. This walk follows the course from near its source in the basin formed by the hill of High Stoy and Dogbury to its junction with the Frome in the water meadows at Charminster. Attractions along the route include Britain's largest hill figure, the Cerne Abbas Giant, Minterne House and Gardens and Hilfield Hill nature reserve.
The Cerne is largely groundwater fed with some upstream catchment, running primarily over chalk and upper greensand. The bed armour is mainly of flint overlain by seasonal sandy silt, with a healthy ecosystem of flora and fauna. A 2008 report by the Wild Trout Trust stated that a fishery owned by the Gallia family is located near to Nether Cerne which had been recognised by a trust conservation award. The report concluded that "the habitat of the River Cerne was excellent, providing good quality habitat for all life stages of brown trout".
In the past, the river has over spilled into Cerne Abbas, however no river-related flooding has occurred since a relief scheme, involving a system of gullies and culverts, and a reservoir capable of holding 44,000,000 litres of floodwater, was commissioned in 1986.River Frome, Dorset
The River Frome is a river in Dorset in the south of England. At 30 miles (48 km) long it is the major chalkstream in southwest England. It is navigable upstream from Poole Harbour as far as the town of Wareham.River Hooke
The River Hooke is a small river in the county of Dorset in southern England. It runs from its source at Toller Whelme through the villages and hamlets of Hooke, Kingcombe, Toller Porcorum and Toller Fratrum to join the River Frome at Maiden Newton, a course of some 6 miles. The river was formerly called the River Toller, whence the name of the three Toller villages, as well as of the hundred of Tollerford. At some point however this former name was replaced in use by reference to a particular feature in the river's course: "Hooke" is a derivation of hoc, Old English for "sharp bend in a stream". It is possible that this description gave the village of Hooke its name, which then transferred to the river by back-formation.
Although the River Hooke is flanked on both sides by chalk slopes of the Dorset Downs, in its course it has cut down to greensand. According to the Dorset-born author and broadcaster Ralph Wightman, this has resulted in "many springy and boggy patches which are not typical of chalk valleys." Writing in 1965, Wightman commented that at Hooke village itself "the largest spring I have ever seen used to gush out of the steep hillside, and was immediately used for watercress."River Piddle
The River Piddle or Trent or North River is a small rural Dorset river which rises next to Alton Pancras church. Alton Pancras was originally named Awultune, a Saxon name meaning the village at the source of a river. The river's name has Germanic origins and has had various spellings over the years. In AD 966 it was called the 'Pidelen', and on the church tower at Piddletrenthide—the first village to which it gives its name—it is spelled 'Pydel'. Several villages which the river passes through are named after it: as well as Piddletrenthide there are Piddlehinton, Puddletown, Tolpuddle, Affpuddle, Briantspuddle and Turnerspuddle. Local legend tells that the Victorians changed the spelling to 'Puddle', due to 'piddle' being an alternative word for 'piss', (although Puddletown was still called Piddletown into the 1950s), but see for instance the John Speed map of the county from 1610 which has the name 'Puddletown'.
The Piddle flows south and then south-easterly more or less parallel with its bigger neighbour, the River Frome, to Wareham, where they both enter Poole Harbour via Wareham Channel.Sandbanks
Sandbanks is a small peninsula or spit (1 km2 or 0.39 sq mi) crossing the mouth of Poole Harbour on the English Channel coast at Poole in Dorset, England. It is well known for the highly regarded Sandbanks Beach and property value; Sandbanks has, by area, the fourth highest land value in the world. The Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs Coastline area has been dubbed as "Britain's Palm Beach" by the national media.Sydling Water
The Sydling Water is an 8 km (5 mi) long river in Dorset, England, which flows from north to south from Up Sydling until it joins the River Frome near Grimstone.
The source of the river is a spring at Up Sydling. It passes the deserted mediaeval village of Elston and is then crossed at a ford by the road from Marrs Cross to Cerne Abbas. It then flows through the village of Sydling St Nicholas and through rural countryside until it goes under Grimstone Viaduct and soon afterwards into the River Frome near Grimstone. The 'valley road' south of the village of Sydling St Nicholas closely follows the river until it reaches Grimstone.
The river is known for its watercress farms and trout. Grey herons and little egrets are common sights.Upton, Dorset
Upton is a town in south east Dorset, England. It is the second largest town in the district of Purbeck.Wareham, Dorset
Wareham ( WAIR-əm) is a historic market town and, under the name Wareham Town, a civil parish, in the English county of Dorset. The town is situated on the River Frome eight miles (13 km) southwest of Poole.