South Haven 

Bramble Bush Bay

Corfe River

Redhorn Quay

Gold Point

Patchins Point

Russel Quay


POOLE HARBOUR – Archaeological Shoreline survey.  2008 -2015 on

The object of this survey is to walk as much of the shoreline of Poole Harbour as is possible and to note features of an archaeological or historical interest and where appropriate consider further investigation at some future date. The walks were carried out at a period of low tide although not always on spring lows. Some areas of the intertidal zone are deep mud or reed and it is unwise to venture out onto these areas.  Much of the shore is private land and for your own safety seek permission from the appropriate land owner.

Redhorn Quay. 

Although in use into the 20th century as a landing place for Studland passengers to embark, the quay and earlier jetty has much earlier origins.

As a substantial quay in the 19th century it was a major point of acess to the harbour for local clay to be shipped out and transfer to coastal vessels at Poole.

 In the mid 19th century proposals to construct a barrage across the south channel met with opposition from clay merchants using Ower and Redhorn quay.
The Act of Parliament failed.

Perhaps the Iron Age users of the harbour had some similar purpose in mind for construction of the Green Island Causeway.


Extract from - Old Swanage and Purbeck Past and Present (1910) a collection of articles by William Masters HARDY[ p 259]

‘landing places where the passage boat is to  be seen today”… referring to the Hamworthy boarding place where there is only a beach today{Lake Road??] and at this spot passenger embarked for Purbeck and the Old town of Wareham. Some landing at Branksea[Brownsea] at REDHORN QUAY for STUDLAND and Swanage and at Ower and Wych for Corfe Castle.

The old road from Redhorn Quay to Swanage is still visible running from the quay to the top of the Golf Ground and through the gap of the hill straight to Swanage church

South Haven Point -   landing place for the Chain Ferry.

Just outside of the harbour entrance a battery  (at least dating from Napoleonic times -  not traced].was sited here in the sand dunes bordering Shell Bay. 

Within the harbour waters a pier or quay is shown with a building (Sheringham) or Passage House (Murdoch-Mackenzie 1785) at the base.  A structure thought to be a brick/lime kiln late c1900 has recently been observed eroding out of the sand dunes north of the pier/ present day hard.


Bramble Bush Bay

In the shoreline  near the base of Plateau Heath can be seen brick eroding from the bank and appears to be evidence of early of brickmaking. Two possibly three kilns.

WW2 – relic concrete blocks

Corfe River

Corfe River Sherford Bridge NGR9667;84800

This is a narrow bridge which dates from 18th century and described as a packhorse bridge being part of early route accessing the settlements on the north shore or the harbour where there were no adequate roads for wheeled vehicles..

On the path NW from the bridge there are deposits of brick infill n the pathway and in the woods there are banks and possible building remains . Early map shows poor building.


Corfe River Bridge - NGR 96715;84117

Although now seen as a bridge there are grovws which would indicate this was a sluice which probably fed nearby water-meadows.

Russel Quay - Arne visit, 19 Feb 2000 survey by Mike Markey

The features at Russel Quay were also examined briefly, as the tide was quite low.  There was 3-4m of mud exposed beyond the seaward end of the north eastern feature, confirming that there is no more structure beyond what was seen on the 1999 visits.  The mud was clearly sloping away into the channel.  Off the south western feature more pieces of stone were exposed, including two triangular slabs over a metre long.  The beach surface between the features had very little weed on it, but there seemed to have been a slight buildup of sand and silt - there were very few of the iron nails exposed.

 There are several places between Russel Quay and Gold Point where the ‘cliff’ at the back of the beach is almost pure sand, although it is currently eroding back.


Gold Point - The grassy area of Gold Point Spit contains a thin scattering of bricks.

 The shingle spit running off Gold Point has a scattering of stones (up to around 40cm max. diameter) along its northern side (i.e. the side facing the channel.  There are two modern but eroded posts set a few metres apart on this northern side.

 Just over half way from Gold Point to the extremity of Patchin’s Point and a little way offshore, there is a collapsed (?) structure made of heavy iron girders - this must be GLP’s ‘beacon’ (there is nothing else!), though it looks to be too substantial for such a purpose in this area.  Needs to be examined from the sea, as access is prevented from the shore at low tide by very soft mud near to the structure.

Patchin’s Point - survey by Mike Markey

Out off the end of Patchin’s Point there is a small truncated pyramid, probably concrete, with what looks like the rim of a circular base around it.  It may be only around 40cm high, and shows only at very low water.  Could possibly be the base of an old marker post.

 The shoreline along the whole stretch from Russel Quay to Patchin’s Point is showing signs of erosion.  The tree-less part of the peninsula (i.e. rather more than half of the distance back from Patchin’s to Gold Point) is protected by a continuous bank of flint shingle about 60cm high, and in many places on the seaward side the land surface on which the bank rests is visible as a low step down to the level of the beach.  The bank is broken only by a small gap through which a stream runs.  This gap is immediately at the south eastern end of the sub-rectangular feature which is shown on the aerial photographs (e.g. 1993).

This feature is well defined on the ground, and consists of a boundary bank around 50-60cm high, which drops steeply to a water-filled ditch on its outer side.  The bank itself is easily located by the vegetation growing on it, and the enclosed area is quite marshy, particularly at the south eastern end.  The bank on the south east side of the feature is not continuous, and may have been eroded - the enclosed area is very wet here, and the ground outside to the south east is flooded.  The rather rounded south east corner of the bank is clearly detectable, though the shoreline seems to be closer to it now than appears on the 1993 aerial photograph.  -  MM



Start point South Haven.  O/S place names used for nearest point for photo indexing.
South Haven Point
Gravel Point
Bramble Bush Bay
Jerry's Point
Redhorn Quay
Brand's Quay
Mead Point
Goathorn Farm
Goathorn Point
Hill Point
Newton Bay
Game Copse
Ower Farm
Cleavel Point
Ower Quay
Ower Bay
Countess Point
Fitzworth Heath
Fitzworth Point
Vitower House
Wytch Channel
Nath Point
Wytch Farm
Middlebere Lake
Middlebere Farm
Slepe Moor
Coombe Heath
Shipstal Point
Patchins Point
Gold Point
Russel Quay
Hyde's Quay
Bower Point
Swineham Point
Keysworth Point
Shag Looe Head
Holton Heath
Lytchett Minster
Lytchett Bay
Turlin Moor
Rockley Sands
Ham Common
Holes Bay
Upton Country Park
North Haven




Neolithic & Bronze Age up to circa 700BC- Evidence of early man clearances settlements – slash and burn to make clearance for agriculture - creating the heathland as we know it. Thirteen Bronze Age barrows on ridge at Canford Heath and what is believed to be a stone circle at Nine Barrow Down

Iron Age - potteries and settlements. The log boat. The importance of riverine trade. Green Island and Cleval Point workings with jetty for substantial harbour from around 250BC

The Roman invasion of 43/44 AD - and the Roman legacy

The Roman Road from Poole to Lake Gates - near Wimborne, runs down the Hamworthy peninsular. Its termination point in the harbour is not known but the course of the road turns eastward towards the area of the old Power station site. (subsequent excavations of the Pilkington site at Hamworthy reveal what appears to be the Roman Fort) The harbour would have been used to ferry supplies but as the fort was abandon around 60AD. it is not known if there continued to be a civilian centre here. The local potteries continued in use but these were based on the Wareham and Arne shores of the harbour.

Dark Ages - Poole harbour - invasion and doorway to Wessex. Viking raid Wareham 10th cent –date?? Danish fleet wrecked off Swanage in storm.

Early Saxons - Cnut (Canute) Poole as a base for the Wessex kingdom. The coming of the Anglo Saxons.

The Manor of Canford (incls Poole). Development of the Manors.

Norman conquest - Old Town area defined as island west of Towngate, now Towngate Bridge to quay and St James’s.

Place name – Pwll oldest reference derived from Celtic (See Standard Welsh Dictonary.

Taken to mean Pool later OE Pole, see full root A D Mills place names.

Stephen & Matilda War - Poole harbour used as base by Matilda. With supplies of men and troops landing at Wareham.

The First Charter – William Longspee the start of a town? Grants first charter 1248 town breaks away from Manorial estate - reasons why this happened?

The Civil War - involvement of Poole. Monmouth rebellion and Judge Jeffreys. William of Orange 1688.

18th century – Developed Shipping and trade with Newfoundland

Transport & Trade - its creation of wealth and the impact on the Town. (not just Newfoundland Trade. Potteries Wool ship building markets etc Water transport and the coming of the Railways.

Social history of Poole in 19th & 20th century - Health sanitation and disease. Schools hospitals parks and workhouses - (or earlier almshouses). Cholera outbreak 1831 Typhoid outbreak 1907 & 1936/7.

Leyland Itinery 1530's comments on Poole - "Poole is not an old-established town, in fact it used to be a poor fishing village, and a hamlet or dependent chapelry of the parish church. But within living memory much good building has taken place, and trade has greatly increased. Poole is almost and island within the harbour.".1


Buildings along the quay:-2

Customs Office

King Charles Public House(Thames St.)

Customs house


Town Cellars (part of Museum building)

Poole Pottery


Quay Hotel (recent building)

Pumping House

(Now demolished)

Old Lifeboat stationPOOLE_old_lifeboat_museum2.jpg









Fisherman’s Cottages


Derelict Open Air Swimming pool.

Quay Pubs -     Portsmouth Hoy Pub

Poole Arms

Lord Nelson/Jolly Sailor

--other buildings in the Town of interest (incomplete)

Scaplens Court - this is most likely the building Leland referred to as the Town Hall in his Itinerary 1530

Mansion House

St.James Church

Alms House Market Street.


Market Street buildings. (Back of High Street)

Alley ways leading to Quay (see old maps)

Upper High Street

West Quay area – industrial use.

Workhouse - next to Poole Hospital Maternity wing and the old Library Building in Lagland Road last two funded by the Lord Wimborne (see more attached on The Wimborne Estate.)


Docks Development

Power stn inlet

Poole Power Station, Hamworthy –demolished 1992.


                Plague burials - site of

                Windmill - site of

                Isolation hospital - site of

                Powder House - site of

                Gold hoard –Green Cl. - Roman coins

                Gas Works - site. Demolished and buildings at Pitwines and Baiter 1970's


Poole Park

                East Lodge Park Gatekeepers house 1880


                Civic Centre






Holes Bay

                Poole Power Station quay base

                Railway crossing.


1 See p138 - John Leyland's Itinerary - Travels in Tudor England - transcribed by John Chandler