Taking some time out of the office, a visit to Poole and Sandbanks, I was almost so relaxed that I forgot to blog today…. good heavens! But sand between the toes and a tasty fish and chips on the Quay later, here I am!
Poole Harbour is a large natural harbour in Dorset, with the town of Poole on its shores. The harbour is actually extremely shallow, with one main dredged channel through the harbour, from the mouth to Holes Bay. It has an area of approximately 14 square miles (36 square kilometres) and is claimed to be the largest natural harbour in Europe. Contrary to some claims, it is not the largest natural harbour in the world though, as the Kaipara Harbour in New Zealand is 366 square miles (947 square kilometres) and San Francisco Bay in California is 400 square miles (1,040 square kilometres) – both significantly larger.
A small peninsula, Sandbanks, crosses the mouth of Poole Harbour. It was once offered for sale by the Guest family, who owned it, for £200. There were no takers and the tiny slip of land, connected to the mainland by a sandy beach and isthmian road, was little more than a shantytown until the sixties, with residents and summer holidaymakers inhabiting converted railway carriages, often with no water or drainage.
Now, the story is very different. It is well known for the highly regarded Sandbanks Beach and property value; Sandbanks has, by area, the fourth highest land value in the world. The Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs Coastline area has been dubbed as ‘Britain’s Palm Beach’ by the national media and the main road (Panorama Road) is known as Millionaire’s Row. In 2005, a shabby bungalow in need of attention sold for three million pounds.
As well as being the home to one of the most highly-awarded and popular beaches in the United Kingdom, the peninsula is also home to the Royal Motor Yacht Club, an exclusive affair that boasts the Duke of Edinburgh as its Admiral and counts Lord Mountbatten, the Duke of Westminster, the Marquis of Camden and the Marquis of Milford Haven among its members, together with Fox and Cadbury, W. L. Stephenson (Woolworths) and Lois de Rothschild.
The Sandbanks area of Poole harbour, known as North Haven Lake, is widely used for water sports and by light marine craft, and the peninsula is home to three hotels, one of which is the four-star Haven Hotel, home to Marconi in the late 1890s and the site of many of his experiments. Sandbanks was the third place in the world to boast a permanent wireless station.
Apart from its three miles of sandy beach – only a small amount of which has been trodden today – Sandbanks is known for being the gateway to the Isle of Purbeck because of the chain ferry that links it with Studland.
Lovely day out …. now back to work …. Hey, when I am a Rockstar, maybe I will be able to afford to live in a property on Sandbanks!