This huge inlet of the sea measures some 7 miles from north to south and about half that from east to west but, so irregular are the shores of the inlet that they extend over a hundred miles.
If the drainage system of county of Dorset is subdued and not reknowned for any large bodies
of water then Poole Harbour by its sheer extent and the intricacy of its shore more than
makes up for the ommission.
At the seaward end, the harbour is almost enclosed save for a narrow channel crossed by
a car ferry by Sandbanks and the Studland peninsula. This
large and nearly enclosed body of calm water which is subject to the double tides which
prevail in Bournemouth Bay has been dubbed The Lake of
It is to this peculiar phenomemon of the double tide - for it is subjected to two tides
every twelve hours with about three hours between successive high water - that the harbour
owes much of its beauty. It retains much of its load of water and does not suffer the
low tides which expose vast expanses of barren mudflats in other estuaries and harbours.
Tide Predictions Admiralty Charts & Publications
ISLANDS IN POOLE HARBOUR
Adding to the interest and charm of the harbour with its convoluted shore are its many
islands and Brownsea near its mouth, the largest, most
conspicious and best-known of these, deserves seperate
Among the larger islands in the harbour (Brownsea, the largest,
being mentioned separately) are Round Island, Long Island,
and Furzey Island.
In June 2002, it was announced that sole use of
which is in private hands
could be obtained on payment of a rent of £ 1,000 annually to the owners.
THE SURROUNDING AREA
The area which surrounds the island and mudbank speckled waters of the harbour to the
south and west is comaratively unspoilt and has been designated an
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
To the east of the harbour mouth the sandy spit known as
Sandbanks is, at its narrowest, only a few hundred metres wide although it broadens
out towards its extremity. It is populated with presitious houses and apartments and
the clean sandy beaches are a mass of colour during the holiday season.
But minutes' ride on the ferry across the harbour mouth brings the wilder beauties of
heath, marsh, sand-dunes and qieter beaches as one disembarks on the
Studland peninsula owned by the National Trust. Inland, as the
widening strip of land joins the Purbeck hills lies the pretty
village of Studland itself which might be missed amongst
its many trees.
On the western shores of the harbour, Russell Quay has a large heronry and Ower has an
interesting pond much frequented by seagulls. The picturesque village of Arne boasts a
tiny church as its only amenity but is also host to the Arne RSPB reserve. Wyche once
served as port to the villagers of Corfe and the masters of the
castle there. Now it
is but a few houses. Perhaps its greatest claim to fame (at least within the local area)
is the oil which is surrendered
by the rocks deep beneath trunk and turf and the
controversey which the discovery of the black gold sparked.
The heathlands which are found here on the southern and western
shores of the harbour such as on the Studland peninsula, at
Agglestone and Arne make an ideal habitat for our reptiles.
So much so that all six reptiles native to the British Isles
are found there. Many of these heathlands have been designated as
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSI's).