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The quay at Poole

Poole is a coastal town and tourist destination (population 125,000) in the county of Dorset in southern England. The town is on the shores of the English Channel. Bournemouth is an important (and much younger) neighbouring coastal town.

Poole is positioned on a very popular stretch of coastline, with the resort of Bournemouth to the east, Studland to the south and the Jurassic coast southeast. The town has, therefore, grown rapidly, and Sandbanks, a small sand spit across part of the harbour mouth is so popular that it has the fourth highest land value, by area, in the world. There are many exclusive homes both on Sandbanks and the whole of the area stretching east from the Harbour to The Avenue (the eastern boundary of Poole).

Poole has been a working port for many hundreds of years, though its harbour is not suitable for large shipping; today the port is amongst other things the home of Sunseeker (luxury yachts) and the departure point for ferries (e.g. Brittany Ferries) to France. Poole harbour itself is notable for being the second largest natural harbour in the world (after Sydney harbour). The quayside and harbour played an important role in World War 2 being the place from which many ships involved in the D-Day landings departed.

Prominent employers in Poole include Barclays Bank, Hamworthy Engineering, Poole Packaging, Sunseekers and Ryvita.

Amongst interesting sites are Compton Acres Gardens and the Poole pottery. The nature reserve of Brownsea Island, in the harbour, is where Baden Powell organized the first Boy Scout camp. Tower Park in Poole is one of the largest entertainment complexes in Europe. The arts centre has recently been refurbished and is now known as The Lighthouse.