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Poole, Northern Harbour, Marinas, and River Frome to Wareham

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


None Given


Admiralty 2611, SC5601   (links)

Rules & Regulations

10 Knts Speed Limit, with areas of 6 Knts...See Text


Shipping and Shallow Areas

Tidal Data Times & Range

Tides can't be related to Dover...Double HW, see Easytide. Town Quay: MHWS 2.1m MHWN 1.6m MLWN 1.2m MLWS 0.6m   (links)

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General Description

The Sandbanks Yacht Company sponsor this page...
The entrance to Poole harbour has already been described in a previous article which can be found at 
Poole harbour and approach

This article deals with the Northern section of Poole harbour including the marinas and facilities. Virtually anything for the boat can be achieved in this area, with a wide variety of marine businesses, including Sunseeker who's  Poole Factory must be one of the U.K.'s largest manufacturers.

It must be mentioned that any kind of alongside berthing in this area carries a fairly hefty pricetag.

Poole is Europe's largest natural harbour, and attracts a multitude of water sports enthusiasts of all kinds. The area boasts an interesting history, and offers a nice mix of attractions including British beaches at their best, stunning scenery, and clean water. The bustling town can offer plenty to do and see, easy provisioning with interesting shopping and some nightlife. The area is home to some celebrity residents, with house prices in the Sandbanks Area in particular nearly matching Central London.

The whole harbour is under the control of Poole Harbour Commissioners (PHC) who's byelaws are there for the safe management of the harbour. The following byelaws are of importance to leisure users:

1. All vessels shall conform to the orders and directions of the Harbour Master.

2.(a). Every vessel shall be navigated with care and caution and at such speed and in such a manner as not to endanger the lives or cause injury or be a nuisance to persons or endangering the safety of or damage to other vessels, moorings, buoys, beacons or other property.

2.(aa). Vessels shall not be navigated at speed exceeding 10 knots through the water.

2.(b). Vessels shall not be navigated at speed exceeding 6 kn in the Little Channel, between the Quays and in Holes Bay.

2.(bb). No person shall engage in water skiing within the Middle Ship Channel within the Haven Channel without the Harbour Master's written consent. Persons intending to cross these channels shall do so by the shortest possible route and so as not to cause an obstruction to other vessels navigating in the channel.

2.(e). No person shall engage in waterskiing, ascending by towed kite or parachute, or use a jet ski or hovercraft except with the written permission of the Harbour Master.

12. Masters of vessels shall not obstruct or interfere with public landing places.

The Harbour Commissioners run an excellent (but slow) website designed to help all users of the harbour, link below:


Or you can jump

The harbour authority does have the right to collect harbour dues from all users of the harbour, and we have been informed (by them) that they have tightened up on this aspect. They say they have up to four or five boats patrolling the harbour at any one time on the look out for boats not showing dues paid decals and have provided a facilty on their website for on-line payment at £0.65/pm/pd. See below

Harbour Dues (HD) | Poole Harbour Commissioners (phc.co.uk)


This section deals with the channels leading to the town of Poole......

...... the various marinas and mooring options are explored in the next section, although it has to be said that most visitors make straight for the Town Quay, and it's associated Yacht Haven as it offers the most centralised berthing facilities. Most of the other marinas are fully utilised by residents, although visitors can sometimes be accommodated.

The Harbour Authority works on VHF Channel 14, "Poole Harbour Control" and a listening watch is wise.

Once past the chain ferry as described in "Poole approach and entry" section the decision needs to be made about which channel to use.  If proceeding directly to the Town Quay, the main channel as used by shipping is the most direct option. Close attention especially astern will be needed to keep out of the way of ships and ferries in the first part of this channel.... once past the fuel barge there is a boat channel running alongside and parallel to the Main Ship Channel on the port side.

Further pilotage directions..

In all cases if heading to the town, after passing the chain ferry keep to the starboard side passing a Westerly Cardinal pile marker YBY (Q(9).15s) and the green conical buoy No 13 (Fl.G.5s). Heading in a generally northerly direction with a touch of east will bring you to the southerly Cardinal Bell Buoy No.15 YB (Q(6)+LFl.15s) which marks the separation point between the Main Channel and the North channel.

Main Channel/Middle Ship Channel/Small Craft Channel

For the main channel leave this buoy on your starboard hand and proceed in a generally northerly direction picking up the channel marked by conical green buoys on your starboard hand, and red cans on the port side. Small craft moorings lay either side of this channel and you will be sharing this part of the channel with ships so vigilance is required. The channel then makes a swing to the North West in the region of the easterly Cardinal buoy Aunt Betty (Q(3).10s), and before this, well outside the port side of the Channel, lies the fuel barge. The barge keeps a listening watch on VHF channel 37, and vessels should approach from the stern, which flies flags. The barge lies roughly in the entrance to Wych Channel, which can be used by yachts and small craft to find an anchorage. (Although not as peaceful as the southern anchorages).

Normal draft craft can now keep out of the middle ship Channel by picking up a series of red topmarked posts that run parallel to the red can buoyage marking the edge of this channel. By leaving the red can buoyage to starboard, and the red topmarked posts to port one can follow the edge of the Main Ship Channel, whilst remaining out of it. If in this small craft channel and aiming for the Town Quay or Holes Bay lookout for number 28 red can buoy (Q.R) And when this comes up on your starboard hand side be prepared to swing North (keeping a good eye out for any shipping movements). If coming up the main channel lookout for the Cardinal buoy mentioned below. Swing North and leave the yellow and black southerly Cardinal buoy, Stakes, (Q(6)+LFl.15s) on your starboard side and also the two green piles with triangular top marks, the latter being lit QG. The Poole Quay Boat Haven, also known as Dolphin Quay lies dead ahead on the starboard side, and the new Port of Poole Marina abeam  to port (contact details and berthing arrangements covered in the next section). Swinging to port and running parallel to the Town Quay will bring you to the lifting bridge which allows access to Holes Bay, Cobbs Quay Marina, and Sunseekers Factory and marina. Anchoring is not allowed near the bridge although waiting pontoons can be found.

Poole Lifting bridges operate on VHF channel 12 callsign "Poole Bridge", the website listing the lifting bridge schedules is not available at the moment.

The bridges open sequentially so that neither is open simultaneously and both remain closed during morning and evening rush hours.

If passing through into Holes Bay and following the channel to Cobbs Quay, note there is a 6 kn speed limit in this designated quiet area, and make sure you cause minimal wash.

If not heading for the above-mentioned facilities but continuing westwards towards the Wareham Channel and in the boat channel, keep following the buoyage noticing the Ro Ro terminal and ship turning basin to starboard. The boat channel ends with the red can buoy number 36. (Fl.R.2s) and this lies opposite Poole Yacht Club's private marina.

North Channel

Yachts and small craft can use the North channel which is very rarely used by shipping. At one time this was the main channel to Poole town but has silted up somewhat... it does however lead past some useful yachting facilities. Starting with entering the harbour past the Chain Ferry once more. When reaching the southerly Cardinal Bell buoy number 15 (Q(6)+LFl.15s), this is left to port.Heading in a generally North easterly direction will pick up the buoyage of the North channel, starting with a green conical buoy called "Jack Jones" (Fl.G.3s) and its matching red can buoy NC2 (Fl.R.2s). (A dredged channel opposite the southerly Cardinal Bell buoy number 15 leads to the Sandbanks Yacht Yard, Marina, and the Royal Motor Yacht Club). From here on the channel is well marked by buoyage and the position of moorings, swinging first North and then North West and finally westerly. On the Northern shore will be passed first Salterns Marina, and then Parkstone Bay Marina and Yacht Club, which is accessed by a buoyed and dredged channel.

The North channel rejoins the Main Ship Channel after passing the green conical buoy NC13 (Fl.G.3s) and the red can buoy NC14 (Fl.R.4s), and guidance has been given above for reaching the Town Quay and beyond.

West of Poole, towards Wareham.

Once past the ferry terminals the channel is not marked so clearly.... it firstly trends West with a touch of South where the first buoyage will be picked up, and then West with a touch of North will bring you to further buoyage and Moriconiurn Quay Marina Village and Lake Yard Marina to the North. Small craft moorings fringe the channel and help show the way.

Shoal draft craft intending to proceed to Wareham will need to pay close attention to the tides and the depth sounder from now on.... once past the above-mentioned facilities to the North the channel trends westerly and then south-westerly, with the big ship mooring buoys to be left on your port side. Pushing on the channel is marked by red and green buoyage and when this expires by red and green posts with the appropriate top marks. At this stage there is little water in the channel. The channel trends first south-westerly then southerly but as it reaches Bower Point, it swings sharply to starboard doing a U-turn and heads North West. Once round the bend head for a point just West of Swineham Point and the River Frome proper, will open up on your port side. This is best tackled on a rising tide. Once in the River keep central, favouring the outside of bends passing Ridge Wharf Yacht Centre to port, and being wary of the shallow patch at Red Cliff, just before the Redcliff Yacht Club. Continuing onwards will bring you to the quay at Wareham.

The Environment Agency is in charge of the River Frome and amongst other things it polices a 4 knot speed limit in the River downstream of Wareham. They ask you to report if you see anybody fly tipping or polluting the land or water by phoning their emergency hotline on 0800 807060.

In general Poole harbour is not difficult to navigate if sticking to the main channels, and a sharp eye is kept for shipping and numerous small craft constantly to-ing and fro-ing. Creeping round the lesser channels with a shoal draft craft requires a bit more concentration and preferably the largest scale chart available.

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Untold mooring options await the yachtsman or motorboater in this part of Poole Harbour.

Most normally make for the Poole Quay Boat Haven, which is specifically for visitors, but can get crowded. There is a multitude of ways of quoting prices in these waters and it needs approaching in the same way of assessing quotes for new car tyres. You need to make sure whether the price you are quoted includes VAT and Harbour Dues ( even they can be quoted with and without VAT). We have quoted 2014 prices inclusive of VAT (at 20%) and Harbour dues.Virtually all the marinas have shore power but some include that in their mooring fees and others charge extra.  It normally isn't a problem elsewhere because you don't have a choice but here with so much choice it's worth checking.

Poole Quay Boat Haven (previously known as Dolphin or Town Quay) & Port of Poole Marina (opened in 2011 in the yacht basin on the port side as you enter the Little Channel)


There is a strange dichotomy here; the two marinas have separate Offices,phone numbers and different call signs but are manned by the same staff on a rota basis, are owned by the same company, have a common website and liaise closely on available berths for visiting boats.

Originally the Boat Haven was built (a good few years back) to cope with the number of yachts that used to berth rafted out in a cat's cradle of warps alongside the Town Quay and, recently, the Marina was added in 2011. There are plenty of other mooring options around Poole covered later, but most of the facilities are fully subscribed, and space will only be available if a berth holder is away.

The Boat Haven and the Marina are reserved for visitors only during the summer months, and is probably where most visitors make straight for. Boats of up to 35 m can actually be handled within the marinas. If the Boat Haven is full, not an uncommon occurrence, they use the Marina as an overflow or may put you on the Town Quay.  Berths on the Town Quay are uncomfortable with all the comings and goings,and you will need good fenders if it pipes up from the South East. The Town Quay is owned by the Port of Poole, but berthing fees are collected by the Boat Haven.

If planning to enter either of these facilities, having reached it following the directions above, the next stage is to call on VHF channel 80,(callsign "Poole Quay Boat Haven") or telephone 01202 649488. They will allocate a berth either in the Haven or the Marina ( the lettering of berths in the Marina follow on from those in the Haven and can be seen at the "layout" page on their website) They ask that, wherever possible, you should ring the Boat Haven in advance and they can then plan ahead and offer a berth either in the Haven or the Marina. Both facilities are on channel 80 and, if you have booked in advance, you should address your call to the relevant facility; otherwise, if just making a speculative call, you should address your call to the Haven. The Haven c/s is "Poole Quay Boat Haven" and the Marina is "Port of Poole Marina"

The 125 visitors berths often fill up during the summer, and advance booking and reservation is recommended, telephone the Boat Haven for details. Berths are hired on a midday to midday basis, so if looking for a berth arrival at lunchtime is the best bet. If you wish to stay later than midday this can be arranged with the staff and should not be a problem unless rallies are pre booked for the following day.

Water and electricity (£3.00 per day) are available on the pontoons but not on the Town Quay. Showers and toilets available nearby, staff issue you with access instructions after booking in, together with access to the secure gate leading to the Marina.

Washing and drying facilities are only available at the Haven, near the Marina office and worked with tokens available from the reception.

Ice is available during the summer months again via reception.

A pumpout facility (£10) for holding tanks is available in the Haven, and as it is on a working Quay timing needs to be arranged with the Marina staff.

The cost (2022) will be £4.34pm pn in the Boat Haven and in the Port of Poole marina (both inclusive of VAT and Harbour Dues)  with short stays charged at £7.10 for boats up to 10 m, £13.00 for boats up to 20 m, and over that you have to make separate arrangements.There is a free water taxi across from the Port of Poole Marina to the Town Quay.

A link to their website is below:


The big advantage of berthing here is proximity to the town's facilities, with shopping, transport etc right on the doorstep.

Other berthing opportunities in Poole harbour are now covered starting nearest the entrance and working round in an anticlockwise direction.

These options include Sandbanks Yacht Company, Saltern's Marina, Parkstone Yacht Club Marina, Cobbs Quay Marina, Poole Yacht Club Marina, and in the River Frome the Ridge Wharf Yacht Centre. These are all covered now with visitors prices.

There are several boatyards with moorings or pontoons, these too are mentioned...

Sandbanks Yacht Company  have 5 visitor moorings located alongside the North Channel, just inside the harbour, before the RMYC Channel entrance. The Buoys are black in colour and marked with their logo. All moorings are suitable for boats up to 10m with moorings for larger boats by arrangement.  Call 01202 611262   All moorings are serviced by a club launch/taxi during opening hours.  Clubhouse and all facilities ashore.

They are charging £30.00 per day up to 10m and £35.00 per day after that (that is excluding VAT, so really £36.00 up to 10m and then you have to add on harbour dues at £0.65 per metre + VAT so that, in the end, a 10 metre boat will cost over £43.00. Then the water taxi will cost £2.50 a head return. The water taxi stops operating about 1930 in the summer.

There are buses to Poole and Bournemouth but they stop early evening.



Salterns Marina.

Salterns Marina is again accessed via the North channel and its entrance is adjacent to the green conical buoy NC7 (Fl.G.3s), with a further red can buoy, and green conical buoy showing the way in.

This Marina has over 200 berths for yachts up to 20 m with a maximum draft 2.5 m. However most are taken up by residents but the Marina can often find room for a visitor. The Marina also has 85 swinging moorings with a free daytime launch service. Try contacting them on VHF channel 80 or 37  with a listening watch kept 24 hours, or telephone 01202 709971.

Charges in the Marina (2022) are £5.00 (inclusive of VAT) per metre per night, with negotiable deal available for a weekly rate. To that you have to add 0.65p per mtre +Vat for Harbour dues.  So a 10 m boat would cost £57.80 per night all in (But electricity is free and there's no water taxi!!). Access is available 24 hours with no tidal restrictions and attendants and security are available round the clock. Drinking water and mains electricity (included in mooring fee) are available at all pontoon berths with toilets and hot showers ashore. Holding tank pumpout facilities can be arranged, and Calor and Camping Gaz are available. Petrol and diesel are available 24 hours as is the launderette.

For the trailer Sailer, a slipway and trailer storage are available and full boatyard facilities are here too. Lifting and storage ashore for the winter needs to be arranged in advance, while chandlery, brokerage and tuition are available on site.

For those getting a bit fed up of the boat this Marina boasts its own three star Hotel (telephone 01202 707321), complete with wedding licence should you feel the need to marry someone. A link to Saltern's website is below:


This Marina is some distance from the town, but there are some shops nearby including a post office, Barclays bank, late night convenience store, off-licences, butchers and a fish and chip shop. A cashpoint machine is available in the local petrol station.

Nearby yacht clubs in this area include:

East Dorset Sailing Club, telephone 01202 706111, link below:


Liliput Sailing Club, telephone 01202 740319, link below:



The Parkstone Yacht Club Haven.

The next mooring facility is again accessed from the North channel, with a buoyed and dredged channel adjacent to the green conical buoy NC 11 (Fl.G.3s).
The Parkstone yacht club runs this facility for their own club members, but will often have berths available for visiting members of other clubs. (See chart 6). Call on VHF channel 37 or channel 80, callsign "Parkstone Haven" or telephone 01202 738824 to check availability.

All the normal facilities are available at the club including showers and toilets, bar and restaurant and a coin op laundrette. The club also operates its own boat yard with lifting and hauling, storage ashore, Marine engineering and repairs, together with a telescopic hoist to sort out problems aloft.

Visitors mooring rates (2022) work out at £3.67 pm pn (inclusive of VAT & Harbour dues) , with berths needing to be vacated by midday. Electricity is available at £3.00 per day, and Calor gas and camping gas are both available.

A link to their website is below:


Poole town centre is a taxi ride away but local Shops include:

Post Office/Ironmongers (closed Wednesday afternoons) Butchers, Newsagents,
Mini Market, Chemist, Laundrette, Strides Chandlers

Other nearby Chandlers:
Quay West Chandlers adjoining the club in Turks Lane
Salterns Chandlery - Salterns Way - Lilliput


Parkstone Bay Marina.

Parkstone Bay Marina is not to be confused with the Yacht Club Haven mentioned above. It is just round the corner in an area of the harbour that dries out. They specialise in dry berthing smaller craft, and offer a Marina and swinging moorings. Their prices (2022) are £4.00 pm pn on a pontoon and, for a mooring  £3.00 pm pn (that includes VAT but you have to pay the harbour dues on top)They offer the following services:

Marina Café, Boat valeting, Antifouling and maintenance, Marine engineering, Yacht sales, Water taxi (day time only), Tenders, Toilets and showers, Car parking, Waste disposal, Fresh water points throughout the marina, Electric points throughout the marina and boat lifting and launching. Telephone 01202 747857, link to website below:


Continuing anticlockwise round the harbour we have already dealt with the Town Quay, and its associated Dolphin Haven. We have also covered the lifting bridge, and it is through this bridge you will have to go if you want to get to the following Marina:

Cobb's Quay Marina

Another offering from MDL, this huge Marina with over 1000 berths is pretty well fully subscribed, being popular with both motorboaters and yachties. It's sheer size and population make it quite likely that the helpful staff will be able to find you a berth within that has been vacated by a regular. There is not much water in the approach after passing the bridge although it is dredged to CD +1.5, with the bottom being soft mud. Contact the Marina on 01202 674299, link to website below:


Visitors berthing rates (2022) are £4.40 (inclusive of VAT ) per metre up to 12.5 m and £5.49 per metre for larger vessels, and this includes electricity but not the Harbour dues. So for a 10 m boat you have £44.00 plus  £7.80 HD which is £51.80 a night  Short stays of up to 4 hours are £9.30 per vessel, with better rates being available for weekly or monthly stays.

Water and electricity on the pontoons, WiFi around the Marina. Luxury toilets and showers with piped musak, purpose designed disabled facilities and a Laundrette complete the shoreside facilities.

The speciality here is dry stack berthing for motorboats up to 10 m long, with repeated launch and recovery priced in, while other services include lifting and storage, boat repairs, undercover storage, chandlery and convenience store, a slipway, new boat sales and brokerage, and finally a yacht club and restaurant. Trailer boats can be launched and recovered at Cobb's Quay.

Poole Yacht Club Marina.

Next facility continuing anticlockwise pass the ro ro berths is the Poole Yacht Club Marina. This is another private yacht club facility for use by members only, but if and when there is space, they do allow visiting members of other recognised yacht clubs arriving by boat a chance to use the Marina and the club facilities. It is emphasized that it not possible for them to reserve a berth or even to predict the possibility of a berth so you should not rely on them to provide one. Entrance is clearly shown on the chart. Before attempting entry contact them on VHF channel 37 or channel 80 callsign "Pike", or telephone 01202 672687. Charges would be given on application

The speed limit in the Marina is 3 kn, and there is quite a list of rules and regulations concerning the use of this basically private facility. Check out the website below for the full details:


The club offers water and electricity, and has changing rooms and showers as well as a bar and restaurant.


Lake Yard and Moriconium Quay

Again continuing anticlockwise just past the town and the Ro Ro berths you will come to the above-mentioned facilities shown clearly on the charts.

Moriconium Quay is of no interest to the visiting sailor, it is an exclusive housing development complete with moorings belonging to the owners.

Lake Yard is a small outfit with all tide access but only around 50 berths, and mainly for smaller craft. They offer swinging moorings with a launch service, and have good shoreside facilities with some specialists in the outboard and sterndrive fields, and they specialise in Boston Whalers. They have a club and restaurant too. Their cost for a 10m boat is £44.00 per day; that includes VAT but does not include Harbour dues and they don't collect them. Electricity is available at £7.15 per day. The swinging moorings are much cheaper at £20.00 a day excluding Harbour dues. Contact them on 01202 674531, or link to their website below:


Trailer boats can be launched and recovered here, contact as above.

Moving away from Poole now, the shoal draft craft making his way towards Wareham will find the following facilities in the River Frome (sailing directions given in a previous article):

The Ridge Wharf Yacht Centre.

The Ridge Wharf Yacht Centre lies about half a mile into the River Frome proper, and is only really accessible by shoal draft craft able to take the ground. It is possible that they can accommodate visitors in a drying berth, but they are not on VHF, and you'll have to call them first on 01929 552650. A fair number of facilities are available here including water and electricity, showers, toilets, laundry, chandlery and fuel. They will charge £31.40  (inclusive of VAT) for a 10m boat and being outside the jurisdiction of the Poole Harbour Commissioners leave it up to you to see to the harbour dues for transit. The impression we got was of a more come-as-you-are approach; electricity may or may not be charged for, you could be rafted if there isn't a free pontoon (and remember you are in a river environment so will need adequate mooring lines) They now have a website at



If you can press on further up the River Frome in a shoal draft boat there is another Yacht Club on the port side about three quarters of a mile beyond the Ridge Wharf Yacht Centre just after you round a sharp bend to starboard. This belongs to the Redclyffe Yacht Club which is keen to welcome visitors and they may be able to offer an alongside berth or, if not, a fore and aft mooring in the river. They have water and shore power on the alongside berths and a club house with showers. They will charge you £20.00 for a 30 foot boat which includes VAT and electricity or £12.00 for a mooring.  It's about half a mile to Wareham where you can find all the services normal to in a market town in Dorset. For more information either call them on 01929 551227 or see their website at



If you can make your way to Wareham on the tide it may be possible to find a drying berth alongside the Town Quay, where all town facilities will be found. Only shoal draft craft can penetrate this far. (Photo in gallery)

This just about covers the alongside mooring opportunities within the Poole Harbour area.

Further Berthing Information


Most individual local facilities have already been covered in the articles about mooring up in Poole.

One trailer boat facility not already mentioned is the Baiter Public Slip, which has access at about three quarters of the tidal range and costs £7.50 per day including car and trailer parking.... of interest to the speedy are the designated jetskis and water ski areas. Check the harbour authorities website for details, as permits are required to operate in the strictly controlled areas.


Facilities for the boat in the Poole area are almost limitless, as a quick check of our marine business directory will show. Virtually every specialist of all kinds are on hand here. Poole probably has the largest population in our marine directory of anywhere we have covered yet....

The history of this fascinating area is covered elsewhere on the site, but it may be worth running over what's available in the town for the visitor.

Assuming that not all visitors will be arriving on their own boat, but may want to get on the water, there are boat cruises from the quayside to Brownsea Island and it's nature reserve which is run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust. There you could take a leisurely picnic and enjoy the magnificent views of the Dorset coast or maybe see the red squirrels that thrive here (not having been driven out by the foreign and hardier grey squirrel). A quick check of the directory will show that anglers and divers are well catered for should you wish to partake.

For boat owners wishing to stock up Sainsbury's and  Waitrose's supermarkets are near the harbour, while shopaholics will probably make straight for the Dolphin Shopping Centre where all the big names are represented in an indoor mall.... (don't know about you but one shopping centre looks pretty much the same as another to me)

Naturally all the big banks are represented complete with cash machines to oil the wheels of consumerism.....

The main transport features in Poole and DorsetThe A350 road is Poole town centre's main artery, running north from Poole Bridge along Holes Bay and on to the A35, and as a single carriageway to Bath and Bristol. To the east, the A337 road leads to Lymington and the New Forest. The A35 trunk road runs from Devon to Southampton and connects to the A31 on the outskirts of the town. The A31, the major trunk road in central southern England, connects to the M27 motorway at Southampton. From here the M3 motorway leads to London, and fast access may also be gained via the A34 to the M4 north of Newbury. A second bridge is planned to be built to connect Poole and Hamworthy as the existing bridge is unsuitable for the increasing traffic flow. The £34 million scheme was given approval by the Department for Transport in 2006 but construction of the bridge has been delayed since November 2007 because of a stalemate between the council and the land owners. A road link to Studland and the Isle of Purbeck across the narrow entrance of Poole Harbour is provided by the Sandbanks Ferry.

Local bus services are run by Wilts & Dorset who are based at the town’s bus station and have served Poole since 1983. Wilts & Dorset operate networks across Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Salisbury, in addition to operations on the Isle of Purbeck and the New Forest. Other services are run by Bournemouth based Transdev Yellow Buses, Roadliner and Shamrock. Poole is connected to towns and villages along the Jurassic Coast by the First X53 service, which runs along a route of 142 kilometres (88 mi) to Weymouth, Bridport, Lyme Regis, Seaton and Exeter. Poole bus station is the terminus of National Express Coaches which have frequent departures to London Victoria Coach Station. There are also direct services to the West Country, the Sussex coast, Bristol, Birmingham, the Midlands, the North West, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The National Express Flightlink service serves Heathrow Airport and connects to Gatwick and Stansted Airport.

Poole railway station is served by London Waterloo to Weymouth express and semi-fast services.Poole has four railway stations on the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo to Weymouth. These are – from east to west – Branksome near the border with Bournemouth, Parkstone, Hamworthy and Poole railway station in the town centre. Services to Waterloo are operated by South West Trains and depart from Poole station every half an hour, express services depart every hour. Plans for a £50 million redevelopment of Poole railway station have been delayed since 2006 due to contractual issues between land owners Network Rail and developers the Kier Group. The plans include a new railway station, a hotel, a new pedestrian bridge, business offices and a transport interchange for taxis and coaches.

The text on the TRANSPORT ARTICLE is covered by the following licence

More Info

For those who really want to know... the full technical explanation of Poole Harbour tides...

TIDAL STREAMS:   Poole harbour is situated near the middle of the degenerate amphidromic system north-westward of the Isle of Wight, and the range of the semidiurnal tide is very small at springs and nearly zero at neaps; the shallow water tide is, however, relatively large, double high waters always occur, and near neaps the tide is mostly due to shallow water constituents.

In a harbour, such as Poole, consisting of a large basin with only one entrance, the stream necessarily varies with the local tide, so the stream is mainly quarter diurnal as is the tide; further, though the range is small, the quantity of water which must run in through the narrow entrance to fill the basin, and out to empty it, is very great, so the streams are strong.

The tide at Portsmouth is always semidiurnal, consequently the differences for Poole on Portsmouth, both for the tide and the stream, are variable; the stream cannot therefore be referred, in the usual manner, to high water at Portsmouth, but must be referred, to the tide, first high water, second high water, and low water, at Poole. Poole is, however, not a standard port in Part I of the Admiralty Tide Tables, and the tide must be predicted; by means of the table below, which gives, for Poole bridge, differences for the first and second high waters on high water at Portsmouth, and for low water on low water at Portsmouth, according to the times of high water and low water at Portsmouth.

The table shows that the differences are nearly constant near springs; in the descriptions of the streams in Poole harbour therefore, in addition to the references to the tide, first high water, second high water, and low water, at Poole bridge, references are given (in brackets) to high water at Portsmouth, but these references must only be used near springs, or when the time of high water at Portsmouth is between about 0930 and 1330 (or between about 2130 and 0130). The neap rate of the stream in Poole harbour is only about one-third of the spring rate, and the stream is correspondingly more important near springs than near neaps.

Portsmouth H.W. Time Poole differences Portsmouth L.W. Time Poole L.W. differences
1st H.W. 2nd H.W.
1100 -0205 +0208 0400 -0007
0000 -0200 +0210 0500 -0007
0100 -0207 +0209 0600 -0006
0200 -0219 +0208 0700 -0002
0300 -0250 +0202 0800 +0006
0400 -0327 +0150 0900 0000
0500 -0354 +0135 1000 -0006
0600 -0402 +0118 1100 -0012
0700 -0342 +0103 0000 -0015
0800 -0305 +0114 0100 -0012
0900 -0225 +0150 0200 -0010
1000 -0201 +0210 0300 -0001

At a position close outside the bar the east-going coastal stream, direction 025deg to 345deg, spring rate 1.4 knots neap rate 0.7 knot, begins -0520 Poole 1st H.W. (+0500 Portsmouth); the west-going coastal stream, direction 160deg to 180deg, spring rate 1.2 knots neap rate 0.6 knot, begins +0050 Poole 1st H.W. (-0115 Portsmouth).

Between the bar and the entrance the stream changes gradually from the coastal type to the harbour type, which, however, is not fully established till Brownsea road is reached. In Swash channel the bar rates are maintained till near the entrance, and then increase quickly.

In the entrance channel, between Sandbanks and South Haven point, the ingoing (flood) stream, spring rate 2.5 to 3 knots, begins -0430 Poole 1st H.W. (+0550 Portsmouth); the out-going (ebb) stream begins +0015 Poole 1st H.W. (-0150 Portsmouth) but is weak till after the second high water in the entrance, or about +0300 Poole 1st H.W. (+0055 Portsmouth), after which it runs strongly and attains a rate of 4 to 4.8 knots at springs.

NOTE.- The interval between the high waters is considerably shorter in the entrance than at the bridge; references below to second high water refer to the bridge (Lat. 50deg 43’ N., Long. 1deg 59’ W.)
In Brownsea road the flood stream, spring rate 3 to 3.5 knots, begins -0430 Poole 1st H.W. (+0550 Portsmouth); the ebb stream begins +0045 Poole 1st H.W. (-0120 Portsmouth) and runs for about 3 hours with a rate up to about 3 knots at springs; the stream then slackens, or there may be a weak flood stream, but about +0015 Poole 2nd H.W. (+0225 Portsmouth) the ebb stream again begins, and attains a rate of 3 knots at springs.

From Brownsea road the flood stream runs at first in the buoyed channels, but later, as the mud flats cover, it runs across them towards Poole. In the channels the flood stream begins +0030 Poole L.W. (+0535 Portsmouth) and attains a rate of 2.5 to 3 knots at springs, but its rate decreases as it spreads out when the mud flats cover. The ebb stream, which is not strong at first, begins +0030 Poole 1st H.W. (-0135 Portsmouth), and is slack, or there may even be a weak flood stream, between about +0200 Poole 1st H.W. and +0015 Poole 2nd H.W. (-0005 and +0225 Portsmouth), after which the ebb stream again begins and attains a rate of 2.5 to 3 knots at springs.

In Main channel the flood stream begins +0045 Poole L.W. (+0550 Portsmouth) and attains a rate of 2.5 knots at springs.

The ebb stream begins +0030 Poole 1st H.W. (-0135 Portsmouth) and runs, with a rate of about one knot at springs, till about +0200 Poole 1st H.W. (-0005 Portsmouth), after which a weak flood stream, spring rate 0.5 to 0.8 knot, runs till about +0030 Poole 2nd H.W. (+0240 Portsmouth); the ebb stream then again begins and attains a rate of 3 knots at springs.

In Little channel and off Poole quay the flood stream begins +0045 Poole L.W. (+0550 Portsmouth) and runs at first in the direction of Little channel; it bifurcates off the quay and, whilst the main stream continues westward, a weak stream also runs eastward along the eastern part of the quay. As the mud flats cover, the flood stream runs across them, diagonally across Little channel and westward along the whole length of the quay. The flood stream attains its greatest rate, 2 to 3 knots at springs, quickly, but about 2 hours later, as the mud flats cover, it decreases to 1.5 to 2 knots at springs.
The ebb stream begins +0015 Poole 1st H.W. (-0150 Portsmouth) and at first runs, from the bridge, eastward along the quay and south-eastward across Little channel; later, as the mud flats dry, it runs more and more in Little channel and the stream along the eastern part of the quay decreases. The ebb stream is slack, or there may be a weak flood stream, between about +0215 Poole 1st H.W. and +0015 Poole 2nd H.W. (+0010 and +0225 Portsmouth), after which the ebb stream again runs. The ebb stream attains its greatest rate, 3 knots at springs in the river and 2.5 to 3 knots along the eastern part of the quay and across Little channel, very quickly; during its second period, as the mud flats dry, the stream along the eastern part of the quay decreases and ceases, and a rate of 3 knots at springs is attained in the river and in Little channel (Lat. 50deg 43’ N., Long. 1deg 59’ W.).
At neaps the streams are weak and uncertain. There is no true 1st high water, but only a temporary cessation of the rise of the tide, and no true first period of ebb, but only a temporary cessation of the flood stream. The flood stream, rate about one knot, begins about L.W. Poole and continues till about -0300 2nd H.W. Poole; the stream is then weak and irregular, either flood or ebb, till about +0030 2nd H.W. Poole, when the ebb stream begins and attains a rate of about one knot.

Adapted from Admiralty Sailing Directions, English Channel 1947


Poole is a large coastal town and seaport in Dorset on the south coast of England. The town is 32 kilometres (20 mi) east of Dorchester, and Bournemouth adjoins Poole to the east. The Borough of Poole was made a unitary authority in 1997, gaining administrative independence from Dorset County Council. The town had a population of 138,288 according to the 2001 census, making it the second largest settlement in Dorset.

Human settlement in the area dates back to before the Iron Age. The earliest recorded use of the town’s name was in the 12th century when the town began to emerge as an important port, prospering with the introduction of the wool trade. In later centuries the town had important trade links with North America and at its peak in the 18th century it was one of the busiest ports in Britain. During the Second World War the town was one of the main departing points for the D-Day landings of the Normandy Invasion.

Poole is a tourist resort, attracting visitors with its large natural harbour, history, the Poole Arts Centre and award-winning beaches. The town has a busy commercial port with cross-Channel freight and passenger ferry services. The headquarters of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), luxury yacht manufacturer Sunseeker, and Merlin Entertainments are located in Poole, and the Royal Marines have a base in the town's harbour. Poole is home to Bournemouth University, The Arts Institute at Bournemouth and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

The town's name derives from a corruption of the Celtic word bol and the Old English word pool meaning a place near a pool or creek. Variants include Pool, Pole, Poles, Poll, Polle, Polman, and Poolman. The area around modern Poole has been inhabited for the past 2,500 years. During the 3rd century BC, Celts known as the Durotriges moved from hilltop settlements at Maiden Castle and Badbury Rings to heathland around the River Frome and Poole Harbour. The Romans landed at Poole during their conquest of Britain in the 1st century and took over an Iron Age settlement at Hamworthy, an area just west of the modern town centre. In Anglo-Saxon times, Poole was included in the Kingdom of Wessex. The settlement was used as a base for fishing and the harbour a place for ships to anchor on their way to the River Frome and the important Anglo-Saxon town of Wareham. Poole experieced two large-scale Viking invasions during this era: in 876, Guthrum sailed his fleet through the harbour to attack Wareham, and in 1015, Canute began his conquest of England in Poole Harbour, using it as a base to raid and pillage Wessex.

Following the Norman conquest of England, Poole rapidly grew into a busy port as the importance of Wareham declined. The town was part of the manor of Canford, but does not exist as an identifiable entry in the Doomsday Book. The earliest written mention of Poole occurred on a document from 1196 describing the newly built St James's Chapel in 'La Pole'. The Lord of the Manor, Sir William Longspée, sold a charter of liberties to the burgesses of Poole in 1248 to raise funds for his participation in the Seventh Crusade. Consequently, Poole gained a small measure of freedom from feudal rule and acquired the right to appoint a mayor and hold a court within town. Poole's growing importance was recognised in 1433 when it was awarded Staple port status by King Henry VI, enabling the port to begin exporting wool and in turn granting a license for the construction of a town wall. In 1568, Poole gained further autonomy when it was granted legal independence from Dorset and made a county corporate by the Great Charter of Elizabeth I. During the English Civil War, Poole's puritan stance and its merchant's opposition to ship money tax introduced by King Charles I, led to the town declaring for Parliament. Poole escaped any large-scale attack and with the Royalists on the brink of defeat in 1646, the Parliamentary garrison from Poole laid siege to and captured the nearby Royalist stronghold at Corfe Castle.
Poole established successful commerce with the North American colonies in the 16th century, including the important fisheries of Newfoundland. The trade with Newfoundland grew steadily to meet the demand for fish from the Catholic countries of Europe. Poole's share of this trade varied but the most prosperous period started in the early 18th century and lasted until the early 19th century. The trade was a three-cornered route; ships sailed to Newfoundland with salt and provisions, then carried dried and salted fish to Europe before returning to Poole with wine, olive oil, and salt. By the early 18th century Poole had more ships trading with North America than any other English port and vast wealth was brought to Poole's merchants. This prosperity supported much of the development which now characterises the Old Town; many of the medieval buildings were replaced with Georgian mansions and terraced housing. The end of the Napoleonic Wars and the conclusion of the War of 1812 ended Britain's monopoly over the Newfoundland fisheries and other nations took over services provided by Poole's merchants at a lower cost. Poole's Newfoundland trade rapidly declined and within a decade most merchants had ceased trading.
The town grew rapidly during the industrial revolution as urbanisation took place and the town became an area of mercantile prosperity and overcrowded poverty. At the turn of the 19th century, nine out of ten workers were engaged in harbour activities, but as the century progressed ships became too large for the shallow harbour and the port lost business to the deep water ports at Liverpool, Southampton and Plymouth. Poole's first railway station opened in Hamworthy in 1847 and later extended to the centre of Poole in 1872, effectively ending the port's busy coastal shipping trade. The beaches and landscape of southern Dorset and south-west Hampshire began to attract tourists during the 19th century and the villages to the east of Poole began to grow and merge until the seaside resort of Bournemouth emerged. Although Poole did not become a resort like many of its neighbours, it continued to prosper as the rapid expansion of Bournemouth created a large demand for goods manufactured in Poole.

During World War II, Poole was the third largest embarkation point for D-Day landings of Operation Overlord, and afterwards served as a base for supplies to the allied forces in Europe. Eighty-one landing craft containing American troops from the 29th Infantry Division and the U.S. Army Rangers departed Poole Harbour for Omaha Beach. Poole was also an important centre for the development of Combined Operations and the base for a U.S. Coast Guard rescue flotilla of 60 cutters. Much of the town suffered from German bombing during the war and years of neglect in the post-war economic decline. Major redevelopment projects began in the 1950s and 1960s when large areas of slum properties were demolished and replaced with modern public housing and facilities. Many of Poole's historic buildings were demolished during this period, particularly in the Old Town area of Poole. Consequently, a 6-hectare (15-acre) Conservation Area was created in the town centre in 1975 to preserve Poole's most notable buildings.


Poole is located on the shores of the English Channel and lies on the northern and eastern sides of Poole Harbour, 179 kilometres (111 mi) west-southwest of London. The oldest part of the town (including the historic Old Town, Poole Quay and the Dolphin Shopping Centre) lies to the south-east of Holes Bay on a peninsula jutting into the harbour, although much of the land to the east of the peninsula has been reclaimed from the harbour since the mid 20th century. To the west is Upton and Corfe Mullen and across the northern border at the River Stour lies Wimborne Minster. At the eastern edge of Poole, the town abuts Bournemouth and the settlements of Kinson, Winton and Westbourne. To the south of Poole along the coast lies Poole Bay, featuring 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi) of sandy beaches from Sandbanks in the west to Bournemouth in the east.
The natural environment of Poole is characterised by lowland heathland to the north and wooded chines and coastline to the south. The heathland habitat supports the six native British reptile species and provides a home for a range of dragonflies and rare birds. Development has destroyed much of the heath but scattered fragments remain to the north of Poole and have been designated Special Protection Areas. The town lies on unresistant Tertiary beds of Eocene clays (mainly London Clay and Gault Clay), sands and gravels. The River Frome runs through this weak rock, and its many tributaries have carved out a wide estuary. At the mouth of the estuary sand spits have been deposited, enclosing the estuary to create Poole Harbour.

The harbour is the largest natural harbour in Europe and the claimant of the title of second largest natural harbour in the world after Sydney Harbour. It is an area of international importance for nature conservation and is noted for its ecology, supporting salt marshes, mudflats and an internationally important habitat for several species of migrating bird. It has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area and a Ramsar site as well as falling within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The harbour covers an area of 38 square kilometres (15 sq mi) and is extremely shallow: although the main shipping channels are 7.5 metres (25 ft) deep the average depth of the harbour is 48 centimetres (1.6 ft). It contains several small islands, the largest is Brownsea Island, a nature reserve owned by the National Trust and the birthplace of the Scouting movement and location of the first Scout Camp. Britain's largest onshore oil field operates from Wytch Farm on the south shore of the harbour. The oil reservoirs extend under the harbour and eastwards from Sandbanks and Studland for 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) under the sea to the south of Bournemouth.

Situated directly to the east of the Jurassic Coast, Poole is a gateway town to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes 153 kilometres (95 mi) of the Dorset and east Devon coast important for its geology, landforms and rich fossil record. The South West Coast Path stretches for 1,014 kilometres (630 mi) from Minehead in Somerset, along the coast of Devon and Cornwall and on to Poole. The path is the United Kingdom's longest national trail at 1,014 kilometres (630 mi).[47]


Poole’s economy is more balanced than the rest of Dorset. In the 1960s prosperity was fuelled by growth in the manufacturing sector, whereas the 1980s and 1990s saw expansion in the service sector as office based employers relocated to the area. The importance of manufacturing has declined since the 1960s but still employed approximately 17% of the workforce in 2002 and remains more prominent than in the economy of Great Britain as a whole. Sunseeker, the world's largest privately-owned builder of motor yachts and the UK's largest manufacturer, is based in Poole and employs over 1,800 people in its Poole shipyards. It was estimated in 2004 that Sunseeker generates £160 million for the local economy. Other major employers in the local manufacturing industry include Sealed Air, Hamworthy Heating, Hamworthy Combustion, Lush, Penske Cars Ltd (who build racing cars for Penske Racing), Kerry Foods, Precision Disc Casting, Siemens, Southernprint and Ryvita. Poole has the largest number of industrial estates in South East Dorset, including the Nuffield Industrial estate, Mannings Heath and the Arena Business Park. Industrial Estate sites are in high demand further developments are under construction such as the Poole Trade Park near Tower Park and the Branksome Business centre.

The service sector is the principal economy of Poole; a large number of employees work for the service economy of local residents or for the tourist economy. During the 1970s, Poole’s less restrictive regional planning policies attracted businesses wishing to relocate from London. These included employers in the banking and financial sector, such as Barclays Bank (who operate a regional headquarters in Poole), American Express Bank and the corporate trust division of Bank of New York Mellon. Other important service sector employers include Link House Publications, the national headquarters and Lifeboat College of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the UK headquarters of Fitness First, Bournemouth University and Poole NHS Primary Care Trust. Poole is also the headquarters for Merlin Entertainments, the world's second-largest theme park operator after Disney.[65] The Dolphin Shopping Centre is Poole's main retail area, and the largest indoor shopping centre in Dorset. It opened in 1969 as an Arndale Centre, and underwent three major refurbishments in 1980, 1989 and 2004. The centre provides 47,000 square metres (510,000 sq ft) of retail space with 110 stores and two multi-storey car parks with 1,400 parking spaces. A pedestrianised high street containing shops, bars, public houses and restaurants connects the Dolphin Centre with the historic Old Town area and Poole Quay. Tourism is important to the Poole’s economy and was worth an estimated £158 million in 2002. Poole's Harbour, quay, Poole Pottery and the beaches are some of the main attractions for visitors. Visitor accommodation consists of hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfast rooms located around the town, particularly in Sandbanks and the town centre. Rockly Park, a large caravan site in Hamworthy, is owned and operated by Haven and British Holidays.

Since the 1970s, Poole has become one of Britain’s busiest ports. Investment in new port facilities in Hamworthy, and the deepening of shipping channels allowed considerable growth in cross-channel freight and passenger traffic. The port is a destination for bulk cargo imports such as steel, timber, bricks, fertiliser, grain, aggregates and palletised traffic. Export cargoes include clay, sand, fragmented steel and grain. Commercial ferry operators run regular passenger and freight services from Poole to Cherbourg, St Malo and the Channel Islands. The Royal Marines operate out of the harbour at Royal Marines Poole, established on the shore at Hamworthy in 1954.[69] The base is home to 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (responsible for landing craft and small boat training), a detachment of the Royal Marines Reserve and special forces unit the Special Boat Service. One-hundred-five fishing boats are registered and licensed to the port and hold a permit issued by the Southern Sea Fisheries District Committee (SSFDC) to fish commercially. It is the largest port in terms of licences in the SSFDC district which covers the coastline of Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and one of the largest registered fishing fleets in the UK. However, the fleet is gradually declining because of rising fuel costs and restrictive fishing quotas introduced by the European Union. A large number of unlicensed boats also operate charted or private angling excursions.

Poole Quay is a visitor attraction to the south of the Old Town, lined with a mixture of traditional public houses, redeveloped warehouses, modern apartment blocks and historic listed buildings. Once the busy centre of Poole's maritime industry, all port activities moved to Hamworthy in the 1970s as the Quay became increasingly popular with tourists. The Grade II* listed Customs House on the quay-front was built in 1814 and now functions as a restaurant and bar. Nearby is the Grade I listed Town Cellars, a medieval warehouse built in the 15th century on the foundations of a 14th century stone building, and now home to the local history centre. Scalpen's Court, another Grade I listed building on the quay, also dates from the medieval era. The Poole Pottery production factory once stood on the eastern end of the Quay but the site was redeveloped into a luxury apartment block and marina in 2001, although an outlet store remains on the site. Boats regularly depart from the quay during the summer and provide cruises around the harbour and to Brownsea Island, the River Frome and Swanage. Public artworks along the Quay include ‘Sea Music’ – a large metal sculpture designed by Sir Anthony Caro – and a life-size bronze sculpture of Robert Baden-Powell created to celebrate the founding of the Scout Movement. At the western end of the quay near the mouth of Holes Bay is Poole Bridge. Built in 1927, it is the third bridge to be located on the site since 1834.

Poole Bay and the beaches of Poole and BournemouthPoole's sandy beaches are a popular tourist destination extending 4.8 kilometres (3.0 mi) along Poole Bay from the Sandbanks peninsular to Branksome Dene Chine at the border with Bournemouth.] The beaches are divided into four areas: Sandbanks, Shore Road, Canford Cliffs Chine and Branksome Chine. Poole's beaches have been awarded the European Blue Flag for cleanliness and safety 21 times since 1987, more than any other British seaside resort. In 2000, the Tidy Britain Group resort survey rated Poole's beaches among the top five in the country.] Along the seafront there are seaside cafés, restaurants, beach huts and numerous water-sports facilities. Royal National Lifeboat Institution Beach Rescue lifeguards patrol the coastline in the busy summer season between May and September.

Notable people
The town has been the birthplace and home to notable people, of national and international acclaim. Former residents include Robert Baden Powell the founder of the Scouting movement, British radio disc jockey Tony Blackburn, the artist Augustus John and Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien lived in Poole for four years during his retirement. Alfred Russel Wallace, the 19th century explorer, naturalist and co-founder of the theory of evolution by natural selection, moved to Poole in 1902 when he was 78 years old and is buried in Broadstone cemetery. Notable people born in Poole include Greg Lake of the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, the author John le Carré, the writer and actor David Croft, and James Stephen, the principal lawyer associated with the British abolitionist movement. Edgar Wright the director of films such as Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz was born in Poole and out the five previous British winners of the Miss World title, two have hailed from Poole; Ann Sydney and Sarah-Jane Hutt. Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur F.C. manager, and his son Jamie Redknapp, a former England national football team player, own homes in Sandbanks.

Studland is a popular area for birdwatching, with Little Sea, Studland Heath, Brand's Bay, Shell Bay & Studland Bay being the best areas. Studland Bay is particularly good for rarer grebes and divers in winter, with up to 20 Black-necked Grebe and 5 Great Northern Diver recorded. The Studland Peninsula is also one of the best places to see Dartford Warbler in the UK with 130 pairs nesting on the heath, this is about 7% of the UK population. It is the only place on the British isles where all 6 native species of reptile can be found.


The town's strategic setting has made it an important settlement throughout its long history. The older streets in the town follow a Roman grid pattern, though the current town was founded by the Saxons. The town's oldest features are the town Walls, ancient earth ramparts surrounding the town, which were built by Alfred the Great in the 9th century to defend the town from Norsemen. The town was a Saxon royal burial place, notably that of King Beorhtric (800 CE); also in the town is the coffin of Edward the Martyr, dating from 978, his remains now to be found in Shaftesbury Abbey in north Dorset. The River Frome serves as a small harbour and the town was a port in centuries when boats were smaller and before the river silted up.

After the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685, Wareham was one of a number of towns in Dorset where Judge Jeffreys held the Bloody Assizes, with traitors being hanged from the town walls.
In 1762 a fire destroyed two thirds of the town, which has been rebuilt in Georgian architecture with red brick and Purbeck limestone, following the Roman street pattern. The town is divided into four quarters by the two main roads, which cross at right-angles. The medieval Almshouses escaped the fire, and some of the Georgian facades are in fact disguising earlier buildings which also survived. Because of the constraints of the rivers and marshland Wareham grew little during the 20th century, while nearby towns, such as Poole, grew rapidly.

In the Anglo-Saxon St Martin's Church, there is a recumbent effigy of T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) in Arab clothing. He is buried at Moreton churchyard where every year a quantity (decreases by one each year) of red roses are left. Near the town is Clouds Hill and Bovington army camp where Lawrence died after a motorcycle accident.

Wareham Town Museum, in East Street, has an interesting section on T. E. Lawrence and in 2006 produced an hour long DVD entitled T. E. Lawrence - His Final Years in Dorset, including a reconstruction of the fatal accident. The Museum also contains many artefacts on all aspects of the history of the town.

Since the 15th century Wareham has been a market town, and still holds a market on Thursdays and Saturdays.

The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

Poole boasts the South's largest entertainment complex, Tower Park, containing plenty of attractions under one roof. Apart from restaurants you will find a 10 screen cinema, the Splashdown indoor water park, bowling and bingo.

For garden enthusiasts Compton Acres Gardens will be a must, and maybe after a fraught day on the Quay winding down with a relaxing stroll in a wooded setting might appeal.

Nearby and extremely popular with families is Monkey World, with the largest group of chimps outside of Africa... always a popular day out.

For younger crewmembers looking for a bit of nightlife Bournemouth nearby offers a fantastic choice of clubs and dancing, but will involve a taxi ride.

Unsurprisingly eating out and drinking all well catered for in Poole, with much of the action centred on the Quay. Some links are provided below for further investigation:

Www.pooletourism.com                                       Forthcoming events

http://www.beerintheevening.com/pubs/results.shtml/el/Poole%3BDorset/    Pubs

http://www.locallife.co.uk/poole/leisureactivities.asp     Sports and leisure

Sandbanks Yacht Company help sponsor our Poole coverage, visitors are welcome. Moorings, water taxi, boatyard and clubhouse:

Sandbanks Yacht Co. welcomes you to our stunning  Club, Café bar, Gym and Boatyard on the beautiful Sandbanks Peninsula. Redeveloped on the original Sandbanks Yacht Co. site established in 1957, the club retains its heritage whilst appealing to a wider audience.


With water access, our state of the art gym, classes and treatment rooms, we really have got the art of good living covered and if all of that sounds like too much effort, you can kick back and watch the world go by in our Boatyard Café Bar! With a delicious menu, creative wine list and champagne by the glass, there really is no better place to relax and unwind.


Your Ratings & Comments

Update April 2022
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 26th Apr 2022
I reviewed these notes near the end of April 2022. Tyro's experience of the prices here is repeated throughout the Poole waters where they equal, if not surpass, those on the Hamble. You must download a copy of the Poole Harbour guide because it is stacked with "You can't do that there 'eres"
Wareham Town Quay
Written by Tyro Sailor | 2nd Sep 2021
This week's was my second visit here in four years and little has changed. There's room for two smallish boats alongside the upstream end of the quay, and it's possible to raft up as well. But there's only any usable depth for about three boats' widths and some of that is needed for manoeuvring. The whole river is very shallow and needs to be tackled in the top half of a rising tide, and only in a shoal-draught boat. Even then you should expect to get your keels muddy. Beware of incompetent canoeists, paddle-boarders and, worryingly, motor boaters in vessels hired from above the bridge. Mooring free for two nights. After that, apply to the council.

Don't moor on the downstream part of the quay, marked with a white line, as this is the berth for the busy trip boats, one of them quite large.

No water or electricity is available on the quay, and the public toilets across the square are less than inviting, although reasonably clean. Best to chat up the staff of the pub next to them. Good beer, coffee and toast there, but I can't vouch for the food as yet. Library just round the corner, Sainsbury's, Co-op and a good chippy further up the road, an ancient and well-stocked hardware shop (offering horse shoeing, but only by appointment), a Saxon church, the Rex cinema, copious floral displays and a wide choice of pubs and restaurants all contribute to the atmosphere of this ancient and pleasant town.
Poole Quay Boat Haven - convenient and overpriced
Written by Tyro Sailor | 2nd Sep 2021
We went in here the other day with a dodgy engine, having had to sail up the harbour, which was entertaining. The staff were able to allocate us an easy berth - and then didn't mind when we went into an even easier one!
But then they charged us nearly £40 for our little 26-foot boat.

The heads and showers, idiosyncratically across the road, were awful for an expensive marina. The urinals clearly hadn't been cleaned all day - or possibly longer, the basin taps are overenthusiastic push types and there are no plugs, the showers have mould but no soap dishes and the whole place was scruffy and smelly. NOT recommended.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 13th Apr 2021
I reviewed these notes in April 2021. All the prices have been changed, some quite markedly - I have tried to rationalise them into some all inclusive price per metre per night but I fear there may be some errors in my 'rithmatick. STRONG SUGGESTION DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH FOR YOUR OWN BOAT!! On the whole the place is very much the same as it was before Covid - it caters to most tastes - or should I say every taste - so everyone is there.
A couple of anchorages
Written by Tyro Sailor | 16th Mar 2021
South of Brownsea Island, as close inshore as you can manage is excellent in a northerly, and close to the entrance.
In a SWly head head up one of the channels to the west and drop the hook off Cleavel Point or somewhere similar, but make sure you won't swing into the channel. Everywhere, as far as I've discovered so far is fairly soft mud.

Wherever you go, make sure you get the tide right or you might find yourself stuck for a fortnight.
Written by Don Thomson | 2nd May 2018
This is a large area to record and we may have missed some points. The harbour bridge has been giving trouble but is back in operation for the summer (schedule not yet published). Prices have increased again for this year but with all the variables you should ascertain before committing; some quote with VAT some don't; others include shore power in their quote, some quote an all in price with the harbour dues and VAT. Many supply water taxis in their "attractions", but don't say that they stop early evening so are no use for an evening run ashore.
Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 11th May 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in May 2016. Prices have gone up a bit and so have the harbour dues making this an expensive part of the world. There are also areas which have been declared "Quiet Areas" with reduced speeds - they can found on the harbour website.
Update March 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 20th Mar 2014
These notes were updated March 2014. Prices have gone DOWN(!!), mainly as a result of the harbour dues being reduced; having said that, if you visited last summer you will have noticed that the prices had already been reduced - and, in that case, they have gone up as the harbour dues have been increased to £0.52
Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 6th Feb 2013
The harbour notes for Poole North were updated by Don T on the 6th of February 2013. There have been several changes in the last couple of years (some of which have not yet made it to the Droggy's charts!) The old Sandbanks Boatyard now has a marina and is the home to the Royal Motor Yacht Club; the yacht basin on the corner opposite the South Cardinal at the entrance to the Little Channel has now got pontoons, is called Port of Poole Marina and operated by the Boat Haven people and we have added the Redclyffe Yacht Club near Wareham to the notes. All prices have been updated to show those in store for the 2013 season and where possible have included VAT and Harbour dues so that better comparisons can be made.
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