One of the largest natural features
of its kind, Poole Harbour is set amidst the
beautiful Purbeck country and alongside the busy
town of Poole; the Harbour coastline of 100
kilometres (60 miles) surrounds 4,000 hectares
(10,000 acres) of water and mudland with picturesque
islands which individually and jointly are many
things to many people. Throughout its exceptionally
long history, the commerce of the Port has
flourished and provided the prosperity upon which
the town of Poole was founded and developed.
Today, in addition to the busy
roll-on/roll-off ferry and conventional cargo
services, the Harbour accommodates a diverse range
of other marine activities. They include those that
are generated from the off-shore/onshore oil
production and exploration, the RNLI headquarters,
the fishing, leisure and boatyard industries, plus a
host of recreational pursuits; together with the
special wildlife which the Harbour has a
considerable capacity to attract.
Harbour Leisure and Fishing Activities:
The sheltered waters of
the harbour are ideally suited for most marine
activities particularly sailing, the principal sport
and therefore Poole has become one of the prime
yachting and board sailing centres of the country.
Commercial fishing and angling have always been part
of the Harbour's history as a result of the warm
shallows, which provide natural nurseries for
flatfish and shellfish.
Other activities include
water skiing, canoeing, rowing, wild fowling and
harbour cruising, while many people find their
enjoyment from the visual beauty of the harbour and
its abundant wildlife.
Enjoying Poole Harbour:
Something like three
quarters of a million holiday-makers and two and a
half million day visitors are attracted to Poole and
the Purbecks. Poole Harbour is undoubtedly one of
the main attractions.
The natural beauty of the
harbour is itself a major attraction. The harbour is
designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest
(SSSI) and is to become a Special Area of
Conservation (SAC) under European legislation. Areas
of the harbour are already designated under British
legislation as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty,
Heritage Coastline, Wetlands of International
Importance and National and Local Nature Reserves.
The harbour therefore gives great pleasure to bird
watchers and those observing from the well known
view points and open spaces many of which have a
remarkable sense of remoteness.
Beaches, which have been
awarded the European Blue Flag annually since its
introduction, with rolling sand dunes along the
Southern and Western shores are ideally suited to
swimming and bathing.
The bustling Quay at the Old Town of
Poole is very much a working quay and is the
starting point for sightseeing, angling trips and
ferries to Brownsea Island and Bournemouth. The
background to the quay is a conservation area with
many listed buildings along the waterfront, most of
which originally had commercial port functions, but
which now house shops, restaurants, museums and
other tourist attractions.