Any long term fans of ours may have picked up a little about Old Harry Paye since you came across us. But for those of you outside of Dorset, how much do you know of Poole itself?
Poole'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.
The town is ideally located with the wonderful Poole Harbour on its doorstep. It is one of the largest natural harbours in the world with a shoreline measuring roughly 100 miles. Due to the complex currents caused by the Solent and the Isle of Wight, the harbour experiences 14 hours of high water a day. Formed at the end of the last Ice Age, it is extremely shallow (at an average depth of just 48 cm) with one main dredged channel stretching through it, from the mouth to Holes Bay. It also has a long history of human settlement stretching to pre-Roman times.
The Romans themselves used Poole as an invasion port for the conquest of southern England, and established a settlement at Hamworthy, the modern day western side of the town.
Almost two thousand years later 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 US Army Rangers departed Poole Harbour for Omaha Beach. Much of the town suffered from German bombing during the war and years of neglect in the post-war economic decline.
By the 1970's, after significant regeneration in the 50's and 60's, Poole had become one of Britain's busiest ports. Investment in new port facilities at Hamworthy, and the deepening of shipping channels allowed considerable growth in cross-channel freight and passenger traffic.
Poole Harbour is a great place if you're a fan of watersports. The conditions are variable and can suit both wakeboarding and windsurfing within a short timespan. Most of these sports benefit from the Harbour's generally flat water conditions.
We are sure if Old Harry were on board one of the many ferries that cross the Harbour every day he'd still marvel in it's natural beauty.