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Studland Bay

Studland – Forming the southern half of the entrance to Poole Harbour, it is an area of grass covered dunes, heath and scrub. At the harbour entrance is the small – aptly named – Shell Bay with about 1km of sandy beach. The shore-line continues southwards to the main beach – a broad stretch of sand some 3km in length, forming the western shore of Studland Bay. The southernmost end of the bay is marked by chalk cliffs leading to Handfast Point and Old Harry Rock (a chalk sea-stack) from where there is a gentle ascent onto Ballard Down.

Both beaches draw large numbers of visitors in the summer months, Bournemouth and Poole being just a few miles away, but retain their appeal right into the depths of winter. The views presented here were taken out-of-season, during the months February–May and show just a few of the many reasons why this area is so popular all-year-round.

010-01 Studland Bay 010-02 Studland Bay 010-03 Studland Bay 010-04 Studland Bay 010-05 Studland Bay
010-06 Studland Bay 010-07 Studland Bay 010-08 Studland Bay 010-09 Studland Bay 010-10 Studland Bay
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In the top row of pictures:

  • Looking north from Ballard Down – Studland Bay and the main beach in the centre, Poole and Poole Harbour in the distance (picture)
  • Walking along Studland Bay, Handfast Point and Ballard Down seen across the water (picture)
  • From atop the chalk cliffs, National Trust visitor centre in the distance, the sea milky with chalk washed from the cliffs (picture)
  • The shallow and slightly sheltered waters in the bay are popular for all kinds of craft (picture)
  • Handfast Point, natural arch in the chalk cliffs, Bournemouth in the far distance (picture)

In the bottom row of pictures:

  • Even in the coldest winter months a little sunshine is all that is needed to encourage children to make sandcastles (picture)
  • Tough grasses bind the dunes, reducing erosion by the wind (picture)
  • Away from the beach there is an extensive network of footpaths, this one leading to the cliff tops (picture)
  • Trapped in the middle of the dunes is an area of brackish waters – Little Sea, an important over-wintering site for birds (picture)
  • Relic from World War II – Studland Bay was used for rehearsing the D-Day landings (picture)

See also: Swanage to Sandbanks

Nearby locations that also feature in galleries on this site:

directionBrownsea Island, Poole


directionBallard Down, Swanage

directionArne and Middlebere

Other sites on the web

The National Trust:   Own and manage this section of the coast, visitor information for Studland Bay – car parks, cafeterias, dog restrictions, etc.

Fort Henry:   wartime bunker used by King George VI, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery to observe the live-fire practice on Studland Beach in preparation for the D-Day landings. This and other wartime relics at Studland have recently (April 2002) been restored and opened to the public.

West's Geology Field Guide to Studland and the South Haven Peninsula

The Dorset Page:   Studland – local information and links to further resources on the web

Maps of the area on streetmap.co.uk:   1:50,000 – detail, 1:250,000 – locality and route to get there

picture resolution
The pictures of Studland Bay in this gallery were captured at high resolution.
This is images of dorset stock photography gallery 010
All photographs copyright © 1998–2003 John Allen

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