The Jewel in Dorset’s Crown
Poole Harbour is undoubtedly an area of outstanding natural beauty and one which we all are rightly proud of. It is a magnet for tourists and locals alike and it supports a wide range of industries including fishing, hospitality, transport, marine sports and recreation.
Many inconclusive arguments abound about its size relative to other global bodies of water; the general consensus is that it is the world’s fourth largest natural harbour. With an area of over 38 m2, the harbour comprises many separate channels, bays and inlets, which combine to produce a 100km long section of enclosed coastline.
Four rivers (the Frome, the Piddle, the Corfe and the Sherford) drain into the Harbour from the west. The entrance to Poole Harbour is just 300m wide where the Sandbanks to Shell Bay chain-link ferry operates across it.
Poole Harbour’s extensive mudflats, salt marshes, reedbeds, sand dunes, heathland and islands are of great importance to wildlife and bird populations. Wild seals are a common sight and, being situated directly opposite the RSPB reserve at Arne and with the anchorages of Brownsea Island and Round island only minutes away, the bird life is prodigious. Avian visitors include common shelduck, pied avocet, spoonbill and sandwich tern and the once rare little egrets are now seen in increasing numbers.
Our valuable and precious resource
The Harbour is a popular destination for recreational water users. Yachting, cruising, powerboating, jetskiing, water skiing, windsurfing and kitesurfing are all popular in its shallow waters. There are approximately 100 registered fishing boats based at the port and sections of the seabed are used for the cultivation of shellfish.
The port of Poole is an important local and regional asset which makes a significant contribution to the economy of the area. The Harbour is also home to Europe’s largest onshore oilfield based at Wytch Farm. Sunseeker International is the largest private sector employers in the county, constructing luxury motor craft at their factory based on Poole Quay. There are also a number of yacht clubs, several thousand moorings and an MOD base along the northern side of the Harbour.
Poole Harbour is an important asset for everyone that lives and works in the area and it demands our respect. By keeping the waters clear of pollution we are safeguarding this valuable and precious resource both for now and for future generations.