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-   F u r z e b r o o k   -  

   The name of Furzebrook seems to derive from the obvious, furze/gorse and a brook. The first use of the name may have been by Furzebrook Farm.
   As far as clay is concerned, Furzebrook became the centre of the clay industry because all local ball clay was taken there to ripen by exposing and turning it for some 6 months so that it acquired more plasticity and became very suitable to mix with various other clays to make them more plastic.
   At Furzebrook several narrow gauge rail tracks converged from outlying mines and claypits, and another line ran to Ridge Wharf, later the Wareham to Swanage branch line of the London & South Western Railway passed through Furzebrook and much clay was transferred via mainline trains.
   The Blue Pool at Furzebrook is part of this area.
   Furzebrook is also well known for being the railhead for the oil extracted from the local Wytch Farm oilwell.

-   B l u e   P o o l   -  

   This idyllic spot is tucked away on the Furzebrook Estate between Corfe Castle and Wareham. If you are travelling on the A351 towards Swanage you have to take the 'last' exit off the Stoborough roundabout into Furzebrook Road, don't stay on the A351, this fools many a would-be visitor. The entrance is a left turn just over a mile down Furzebrook Road, passing over the Norden to Wareham rail connection. The sign for Blue Pool is not obvious.
   When you finally leave the place and passing under the rail connection you will however come out on the A351. Right for Swanage, left is back to Wareham. The reason for this performance is narrow roads/tracks, it's a one-way system.

   The pool itself started life early in the 17th century as a chalk pit, when men used to dig the high quality clay with a 'tubal' which is a spade, the connection here being the clay is commonly called 'ball clay'. They used to lug it out on wheelbarrows, JCBs were in their dreams. The clay was laid down about 50 million years ago courtesy of rivers from the West Country.
   The clay was and still is used for fine pottery, it did once serve to make that most important of items, the clay pipe.
   Although not specifically here, local clay was used by the Ancient Britons used the clay to make their boats seaworthy presumably by stuffing the cracks. Some believe they traded with the Phoenicians. In 1986 a more northerly location showed there was a Roman clay works.
   The pool is not worked now but much locally is, evidence the large blue ECC Ball Clay lorries to and fro on the local roads.

      The title 'Blue' comes about because there is in suspension in the water minute particles of clay which variously diffract the light giving colours from 'cloudy' grey through green to the superb blue.

   The pool is encompassed in about 25 acres of woodland and if there is nobody else around it is truly idyllic. For those seeing the word 'pool' and thinking bathing or swimming, forget it. This big puddle is deep and dangerous.
   All of this was in 1985 designated an area of Special Scientific Interest (SSI), some rare plants and animals including the Green Sand Lizard, many varied birds including the Dartford Warbler, and dragonflies, are indigenous. There are many deer, and deer trails are marked on the various paths around the pool. Not unnaturally it has it's fair share of grey squirrels and rabbits.

   If you are wheelchair bound or have to push the kids round in a pushchair you may have a problem, the terrain undulates and can have a delightful thick carpet of pine needles and the like. The proprietors have however gone to some trouble make some parts "wheel friendly".

   Having circulated round the pool the site offers a museum showing the development of the local clay industry, specifically Blue Pool. There is of course the proverbial gift shop, and essentially a tearoom. Plants may also be available.

   The grounds usually opens from March to November, but other facilities may be limited April to October.


Address:     The Blue Pool
Nr. Wareham
Dorset BH20 5AT
Telephone: 01929 551408
Fax: 01929 551404
Website: www.bluepooluk.com
Email: info@bluepooluk.com






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