Just north of the Isle of Purbeck is a large expanse of water called Poole Harbour, which is almost an enclosed lake but for the long spit of land at Sandbanks, which almost but not quite meets Studland Heath on the other side. The town of Poole, as well as being a tourist destination in its own right, is a jumping off point for the Channel Islands and Cherbourg, France courtesy of a number of ferry routes served by the town. The Harbour is a haven for watersports fans as well as for birdwatchers. The town of Poole is a mixture of the old and new, with a quaint old Georgian town nestling among the swanky new apartment complexes.
In the previous post, we met a group of rocks off Studland called Old Harry Rocks. Legend has it that these rocks were named after a notorious Poole privateer and smuggler called Harry Paye. During his lifetime which spanned the late 14th and early 15th centuries, and included a stint as a Commander in the Cinque Ports fleet, Paye went on the rampage along the coasts of France and Spain leaving a trail of devastation in his wake, for example by burning the town of Gijon in Northern Spain to the ground and stealing a valuable crucifix from the Church of Saint Mary in Finisterra. He also trounced a French fleet sent to help Wales' Owain Glyndwr with his uprising against the English. Paye’s memory lives on in Poole in the form of the annual Harry Paye Charity Fun Day; hopefully the money raised from these events goes some way towards atoning for the havoc wreaked by Paye all those years ago.
For events in Poole see here.
Map of the area.
photo © 2010 Tanya Hart | more info (via: Wylio)