Tidal Water

The internationally important Poole Harbour, with its intricate and sinuous coastline and numerous wooded islands, is a highly valued component of Dorset National Landscape.

Poole Harbour (c) Sue Macpherson ARPS

Surrounded by heathland landscapes and urban development, Poole Harbour is physically linked to the Active Coastal Waters by the channel between Studland and the Sandbanks Peninsula.


 Landscape change

  • Sea level rise along the coast is affecting valued habitats. The area is particularly susceptible to landscape change due to managed realignment.
  • Increased pollution, particularly from nitrates, has been one of the most significant forces for change, requiring a response at catchment-scale.
  • The recreational popularity of the Harbour has brought increasing visitor pressure, affecting locations such as Brownsea Island and the heaths to the south of the Harbour. Furthermore, the popularity of sailing and other water-based activities has grown.
  • An increased extent and scale of development on the northern side of the Harbour, such as within Poole and Sandbanks, has altered the perceived remoteness and sense of tranquility in parts of the Harbour.
  • Ongoing oil extraction activities within the Harbour area have resulted in some industrial activity at locations such as Furzey Island.
  • There has been an increase in the scale of built development on some of the islands within the Harbour, with the recent constructed large-scale eco-home on Green Island being an example.