Wessex Attractions: Poole Harbour

Poole Harbour is the largest natural harbour in Europe, a haven for wildlife and watercraft alike. It features a marina for yachts, an area for jet-skis and personal watercraft, and another for wind- and kite-surfing.

The area is rich in wildlife. Nearby Brownsea Island will feature in its own blog post in due course, but the harbour itself is an SSSI, a SPA and a RAMSAR site. A mile offshore is a marine conservation where over 40 species of fish (including rays and black bream), 50 species of seaweed, and 40 species of sponge and sea anemone can be found, along with lobsters, oysters and crabs.

Birdlife includes cormorants, teal, great crested grebes and spoonbills (see photo above). The latter are attracted by the warm, shallow water. Unfortunately, this shallowness makes the area uncongenial for divers. A project is currently underway to reintroduce a breeding population of ospreys, with birds translocated from Scotland.

A marina guide detailing all the harbour's facilities is available from the tourist information office.