PUBLISHED: 11:31 19 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:16 20 February 2013
Beaches and boat trips, swimming and sailing, day-dreaming along The Quay and dining alfresco in the evening sun - it's midsummer in Poole. July 2008
Constantly evolving, but still managing to hold onto its history and culture, Poole is loved equally by its oldest residents and the newest of the incoming nouveaux riches. Poole's historic quayside is alive with the sounds and colours of summer, so we thought we wouldn't wander far this month.
Full Sail Ahead
But first, we thought we'd bring you the latest on Poole's ambitious regeneration scheme for the upper harbour area. We've had a good look round, and talked to the powers that be. From Poole's lifting bridge, we saw the vast Hamworthy power station site, but it was empty except for some weeds and a few fishermen's cars. So, we walked along West Quay Road to the traffic lights, and turned into Wilkins Way, where traffic is supposed to approach the stunning Twin Sails Bridge. All we found was a chap launching his boat from the old slipway, and several dozen tenders leaning against the wall. We asked Borough of Poole Strategic Director Andrew Flockhart and Full Sail Ahead Communications Officer Ian Turner, What's the latest news?' It seems that landowners JJ Gallagher Estates is submitting new proposals for the Hamworthy power-station site, having previously 'failed to address a number of fundamental planning requirements relating to the infrastructure and environmental impact'. The Borough of Poole is trying to secure a financial contribution towards construction of the Twin Sails Bridge but, before that situation is resolved, the Council has decided to 'stand down' currently interested contractors.
A Spot of Local Culture
Following last year's centenary of Lord Baden-Powell's inaugural Scout Camp on Brownsea Island, Poole Museum has pulled off an outstanding coup by prising BP's hand-drawn and illustrated notes for Scouting for Boys from the Scouts Association's firm grip. With photographs, early editions of the manual, and artefacts commemorating the first camp, the fascinating display includes two original BP drawings loaned from Wimborne's Priest's House Museum. Other displays commemorate Poole's ancient history and its more recent industries, together with a post-war kitchen and dentist's parlour - and it's all free. Incidentally, word has it that a statue of Lord Baden-Powell by sculptor David Annand of Fife will soon be installed on Poole Quay.
Poole's Dolphin Leisure Centre's sports facilities are second to none but, as it's midsummer, visit Poole Park's tennis courts, boating lake and mini-golf course. They're much more fun, outdoors in the sunshine and open to everybody. Of course, simply strolling along the harbour's edge to Baiter is a pleasant way to pass some time. It's all level, and accessible to baby-buggies and mobility scooters. Strollers might spot Brittany Ferries' huge new freighter cruising through the harbour on either the Cherbourg or Santander route. The £50 million Cotentin, with a capacity two-and-a-half times that of Barfleur, arrived in Poole last November. Later this year, the equally huge passenger vessel Armorique comes into service.
Poole's Dolphin Shopping Centre is already well-known, but the shops along High Street and The Quay are an exciting alternative. You'll find gifts and fashions, sports and sailing gear, plus hairdressers and beauty parlours to remodel your charms after a breezy sailing trip.
Anywhere near The Quay, hunger isn't a problem. The most popular hostelries have been serving excellent food for years, many using local fishermen's fresh catch-of-the-day. Some of Poole's ancient mills and harbour buildings have long been converted into restaurants and bars but, more recently, a plethora of eateries has burst onto the scene on The Quay and in High Street. There's a jazz-bar and a sports bar. There are also stylish sea-food restaurants, an authentic French restaurant, Italian bistros, a more expensive Italian restaurant, Thai and Asian restaurants, a splendid fish-and-chip shop, and a handful of reasonably-priced cafeterias. Open-air kiosks can also supply a tasty lunch, traditionally to be shared with the seagulls.
Exploring the Area
On Poole Quay, there are endless possibilities for exploring the harbour, Brownsea Island and the River Frome channel to Wareham. There are leisure cruises to Swanage and Bournemouth, or even the Isle of Wight. The boat operators on Poole Quay have all been here for many years, and their local knowledge is second to none. Whichever company you choose, you'll have a very pleasurable trip, and you'll learn all about local history and wildlife as well. But, if you're an unmitigated landlubber, pick up the 'Cockle Trail' leaflet from The Museum. The 82 brass plaques will lead you around Old Poole, and show you the historic buildings and back-alleys associated with Poole's smugglers, sailors and ghosts.
Three Things to Take Home
Poole Pottery, what else? Well, maybe a brass-cased barometer from The Quay's famous yacht chandler, or a seagull tattoo from the parlour in High Street. Whether decorative or painful, your memento will remind you of your visit for years to come.
Every Friday at 6pm on Poole Quay from June until August, 'Quay for my Car' is essential for classic car enthusiasts. On 6th June, it's Open Top Sports Cars night, 13th June is Mini Magic for new and old minis, 20th June is Best of British Classics and 27th June is Rod and Custom Night.
Starting on 28th July, Poole Audi 'EatOutLive' celebrates Poole's dining scene in three Poole districts, including Poole Quay. There will be free food tasting, local produce, a live cooking arena and Dorset musical talent. Each participating restaurant will offer a special Festival menu, using mostly locally-sourced ingredients.
Old Harry Rocks just outside Poole Harbour are named after notorious pirate Harry Paye. At the turn of the 14th century, Paye was based on Round Island from where he attacked ships and seaports in France and Spain. He once brought 120 captured ships into Poole, laden with salt, wine and oil. Also, between 1404 and 1406, he fought against the French as a commander with the legitimate English Navy.
For your Information...
Car Parking: Large Pay and Display car parks at Baiter, and for 'Quay Visitors' off High Street, or one hour free in High Street.
Public Transport: Poole Bus Station and Poole Rail Station have countless buses and trains.
Details from Wilts & Dorset Buses: Tel: 01202 673555 and www.wdbus.co.uk
Transdev Yellow Buses: Tel: 01202 636060 and www.bybus.co.uk and South West Trains: Tel: 08457484950 and www.southwesttrains.co.uk
Poole Quay Tourist Information: Tel: 01202 253253 and www.pooletourism.com
Poole Museum: Tel: 01202 262600 and www.boroughofpoole.com/museums
Poole Pottery: Tel: 01202 668681 and www.poolepottery.co.uk
Audi EatOutLive details, check www.eatoutpoole.com
On Poole Quay, Sir Anthony Caro's 'installation' sculpture 'Sea Music' was opened on 22nd November 1991 by Lord Palumbo, Chairman of the Arts Council who said 'What we build today is the heritage of tomorrow'
Poole Museum's new third-floor balcony offers tempting glimpses of the harbour, and gives excellent views over High Street's rooftops
It's a Breeze
Live music fills Poole Quay and High Street pubs in summer, and 'Summer Breeze on The Quay' every Thursday in July brings street entertainment, family fun and a firework finale