Thursday, 4 November 2010

Turlin Moor to Poole Quay

Holes Bay at low tide

Continuing our exploration of the area around Poole, we did Poole Harbour Trail number 6. This can be downloaded from the Poole Harbour Trails website or purchased as a glossy leaflet from the tourist office on Poole Quay. The overall concept is quite visionary: 6 linear walks each of about 7 miles which together make a vast circle starting and ending at Poole Quay. To embark on this final one we walked into Poole and caught a bus out to Turlin Moor (a housing estate rather than a relative of Exmoor).

You get off at a stop in Foreland Road (incorrectly described as a "terminus" in the leaflet), walk over a railway bridge and past a holiday camp, to find a track which leads to Ham Common. Here there is a fine view point looking over a nature reserve centred on a lake which was once a clay pit.

You swing round behind the lake, with Poole Harbour on the right and soon this inviting set of steps led down to the beach.

The beach you then encounter, Ham Beach, is a mixture of sand and shingle and is quite attractive.

At the end of the beach you cross a car park to walk along a further section of beach before turning inland to follow a series of roads to Hamworthy Park. The colourful beach huts are both jolly and slightly forlorn. They are not in the same league of confidence as those at Mudeford Spit, which we saw when walked at Hengistbury Head earlier in the year.

We now walked away from this section of the harbour, through a residential area, past a football ground and a school and finally reached one edge of Holes Bay. We followed the grassy path around the side of this vast shallow bay until forced to turn inland to find a path leading back to the shoreline.

At the end of the path we were dismayed to find that the next section was closed for today only for tree-felling and that we had to make a detour through Upton Country Park to rejoin the route further along.

We enjoyed the detour however. The grounds are delightful and we went as far as the front of the great house. Upton House is a handsome late Georgian number dating from 1816 which was built - like many fine houses in Poole - by a rich merchant who had profited from the Newfoundland trade.

Once we regained the shoreline, the path was a beautiful autumn sight.

Soon afterwards, the path left the Country Park and came close to the busy A350. It follows the line of the road back into Poole, but for the most part is far enough away for the traffic noise not to be too intrusive. This section of the walk had the greatest number and variety of bird life. The point where a stream flowed into Holes Bay was by far the most interesting.

At the end of the bay we walked through Poole town to reach the Quay and a late, but we felt well-deserved, fish lunch.

Explorer OL15 (Purbeck and South Dorset).

Conditions: mild but cloudy.

Distance: at least 8 miles with the detour.

Rating: four stars - mainly for the Holes Bay section.

Sea bird of the day and other sightings

As a stimulus to learning to identify sea birds, I am starting a new feature: sea bird of the day. The first one is, rather appropriately, our most common Gull, the Black Headed Gull. One should not be deterred by the lack of a black head: the black dot behind the eye is diagnostic of a bird still in its summer plumage.

We also saw a great number of Widgeon and Teal, quite a few Egrets, an Oyster Catcher, a Curlew and, best of all, a Peregrine Falcon, which obligingly hovered overhead while we confirmed our identification.

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