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  • Start: A350 Poole Lifting Bridge between Poole Quay and Hamworthy (grid ref SZ005903)
  • End: A350 Poole Lifting Bridge between Poole Quay and Hamworthy (grid ref SZ005903)
  • Country: England
  • County: Dorset
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: There are masses of cafés, pubs and restaurants all round this town walk.
  • Ordnance Survey: Landranger Sheet 195 doesn’t show the alleyways. Just follow the instructions. Alternatively get hold of a local Poole street map.
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Edward Griffiths explores the fascinating alleyways of this historic seaside town...

Poole Old Town: latest walk from Dorset Magazine

Edward Griffiths explores the fascinating alleyways of this historic seaside town....

Distance: 2 Miles ( km) Time: 2 hours Exertion: Easy

Pooles history is its alleyways, and we can now explore many of them on this illuminating ramble through, round and across old Poole towns peninsula. Sometimes walking coast-to-coast and sometimes along alleys and paths that only the local people know to exist.

The Walk

1.From the lifting bridge, walk down West Quay Road. Turn into left Lee Way to start at the sea, then cross West Quay Road into Barbers Piles with left terrace cottages. Cross West Street into walled Barbers Gate and walk into St James Close. Past left Church Street, continue along Thames Street. Before half-timbered King Charles, take the narrow right unsigned passageway. Zig-zag through, passing under the corbelled stone wall and emerging at St Clements Lane onto Poole Quay with the bridge to your right. Turn left. After the colonnaded building before Custom House, turn left into Thames Street, passing Paradise Street, Town Cellars and the King Charles.

2.Past St Clements Lane, take right Thames Alley, bending right into the passage with walled Scaplens Court Garden left. Emerge into Sarum Street, opposite Poole Museum. Turn left into High Street. Past the Kings Head and The Antelope, take the left stone-walled alley into a turning area. Cross into the Private Property. After the garages, take the right passage to St Georges Almshouses. Turn left into Church Street. Turn right. Continue into Market Street passing left oriel-windowed Byngley House. Pass right New Street and Guildhall Tavern. Visit the Guildhall with the old market underneath.

3.Return to New Street. Walk along it, passing right Cinnamon Lane, to the tree-lined High Street precinct. Cross into Castle Street. Past left Quay Visitors car park, cross Strand Street into the continuation of Castle Street. Emerging again onto Poole Quay, turn right. Take first right Buttons Lane back to Strand Street. Turn left. Pass first left Ball Lane and take the next left grey-brick walled narrow passage, emerging as Bull Lane onto Poole Quay between Poole Arms and Tourist Information. Turning right, take the instant right stone-paved Hosiers Lane back again to Strand Street. This time, cross over and walk into the narrow alley in the left corner.

4. Emerging as Dennetts Lane into High Street, turn right. Pass Bell Lane again. Continue to the tree-lined precinct and cross over New Orchard into pedestrianised High Street. Immediately left is stone-paved Bowling Green Alley with obvious upper-storey infilling, then continue along High Street. In 100 yards, turn into the first right yellow-lined passage, again built over. This is Prosperous Street. Notice the old stone-kerbs and doorway corner-stones. Walk to the Quaker Meeting House site (1678-1937) on the left corner, with The Cockleshell pub opposite.

5.Cross Lagland Street, veering into Skinner Street. Pass the 1777 Reformed Church. At the left bend, go right into East Quay Road, meandering round to the pedestrianised road to Old Orchard with Fish Shambles opposite. Turn left to Poole Quay. Walk left along the quayside, passing left Dolphin Quays apartments. Stroll to the Lifeboat Museum and Fishermens Dock where US rescue ships left on 6 June 1944 to support the D-Day landings. For another cross-peninsula walk, turn left into Ballard Road at Cherbourg Roundabout. Bear right to pass Baiter Gardens. Emerging as Perry Gardens into Skinner Street, cross into South Road with Grenville Court left.

6.Through the parking area follow the blue-fenced path, passing the right school. Reaching Lagland Street, pass left Foundry Arms and right 1887 Norton Library. Cross High Street again, with Poole Methodist Church left, into North Street. Walk to Hunger Hill roundabout. Follow the left pavement to the Rising Sun. Cross right over Dear Hay Lane and follow Old Poole burial grounds stone wall on your left. Over West Street and West Quay Road, pass under the Asda buildings tower. Past the glass frontage, follow the pavement past the left car park. Cross the access road to the Aqua building and its sculpture. This is Pooles natural upper harbour.

7.Return to the old burial ground and find the tombstone path. Poor forgotten Sarah Sloper, Pauline Allen and the others, worn away by passing feet. Leaving by Nightingale Lane, turn right along Dear Hay Lane. Take first left Chapel Lane to High Street. Turn right. Immediately pass a narrow arched passageway that leads back to Lagland Street. Look out for more extinct through-ways where buildings have been inserted between older buildings corner quoins or edges, like the shop opposite left Westons Lane. Cross New Orchard and continue along High Street to Poole Museum. Back onto Poole Quay, turn right to the Lifting Bridge where you started. U


Start: A350 Poole Lifting Bridge between Poole Quay and Hamworthy (grid ref SZ005903)

Map: Landranger Sheet 195 doesnt show the alleyways. Just follow the instructions. Alternatively get hold of a local Poole street map.

Terrain: Easy level paths and lanes

Public Transport: Innumerable buses to Poole Bus Station, then Route One Circular to Poole Quay

Dogs: Keep on leads at all times.

Refreshments: There are masses of cafs, pubs and restaurants all round this town walk.

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