Holes Bay Project

Holes Bay is a beautiful shallow tidal bay with an abundance of wildlife that live both in and around the water edge. Maintained pathways running along it mean that it is a popular route for both cyclists commuting to Poole and a popular place for a leisurely stroll. The unique habitat of Holes Bay has given it a SSSI rating from Natural England, ensuring the environment here is given protection and monitored for any changes or challenges that occur.

However, footpaths, busy roads, sewage and overflow outlets, industry, recreational use and weather conditions mean that there is a continual and steady flow of litter and plastics entering Holes Bay and accumulating around its shoreline. The nature of the tides and its single entry point mean that litter is also carried into the bay by sea. The bottleneck entrance of Holes Bay means that once it enters, it becomes trapped, eventually becoming caught up in the reeds, salt marshes, sea defences or stuck in the mud.

Throughout 2020, we worked with landowners, surrounding businesses and other organisations to get measures in place to improve and protect this rich and important habitat by looking into ways of reducing the amount of litter entering it at its source.


Throughout 2021, we are putting the wheels in motion for an in-depth study of the plastics deposited around the surface overflow and sewage overflow points around Holes Bay. The research will be carried out with the expert support of the awesome team at Wareham River Labs and Queen Mary University of London, and the data collected will also feed into a much larger cross channel study of marine plastics by INTERREG.

Wessex Water, Natural England and Poole Harbour Commissioners have been a huge help so far, and the data collected will help all of us to identify the sources of the plastic and find long-term solutions to prevent it entering the bay.