Poole is an historic port where traffic had declined due to silting and the increased size of ships, but it has undergone a resurgence with the construction of the ferry terminal which now has three berths. These were first used by Truckline (now incorporated into Brittany Ferries) service to Cherbourg, then by British Channel Island Ferries services to the Channel Islands. Today the Brittany Ferries
The town of Poole centres around the old Poole Quay (commercial shipping, including the ferries, is now handled at Hamworthy which is across a lifting bridge over the mouth of Holes Bay, an arm of Poole Harbour. Attractions include Poole Pottery and an Aquarium but the main attraction is the general atmosphere of the area. Poole is overshadowed as a resort by its neighbour, Bournemouth, but includes a stretch of beach from Sandbanks to Canford Cliffs and also the well known gardens at Compton Acres.
Poole Harbour is a large, natural, inlet from the sea, the narrow mouth of which is crossed by a ferry which forms a link on the road from Sandbanks to Studland and Swanage. There are several islands in Poole Harbour, the largest of which is Brownsea Island which is mostly owned by the National Trust and is home to the now rare red squirrel and various waterfowl. There are many pleasant walks on the island, which is open to the public, with ferries from Poole Quay and Sandbanks in the summer. It was the site of Baden-Powell’s first Boy Scout Camp.
If you are taking a ferry from Poole it is well worth going out on the open deck to savour the scenery. The hills to the south of the Harbour are the Purbeck Hills, the source of much fine building stone in the past, if you have time in the area the view from the road along the top from Corfe Castle to Studland is superb.
The Arne peninsula, which juts out into Poole Harbour, is a nature reserve and is also the site of the UK’s largest on shore oilfield, the construction and operation of which has not spoilt its value as a reserve.
Poole is well served by the road and rail networks, being linked by the A31 to the M27 and thence M3 to London, the A350 north to Bristol and beyond and the A35 to Dorchester and Exeter. Poole railway station is centrally situated and is served by South West Trains frequent electric services to Bournemouth, Southampton and London (Waterloo) and by some Virgin Cross Country services which run via Reading, Oxford and Birmingham to the north.
This site was last updated 19-10-2011