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National Trust Studland Beach Nature Reserve

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A vast area of sandy beaches and heathland.

Studland is a small village in Dorset, England famous for its beaches (named South Beach, Middle Beach and Knoll Beach) and Nature Reserve. In 2001 Studland had a population of 480, the lowest in 50 years. Many of the houses in the village have been bought up as holiday homes, second homes, or guest houses, and the village’s population varies depending upon the season. The village is 5 miles south of the conurbation of Poole and Bournemouth, but separated from it by Poole Harbour and a chain ferry. The village is 5 miles north of the town of Swanage, over a steep chalk ridge.

The bay is protected from the prevailing winds and storms by Old Harry Rocks, the chalk headland that separates Studland from Swanage bay. This has allowed, over a period of approximately 600 years, a sandy beach to be deposited against the reddened sandstone cliffs, at the south end of the bay, and the Reading and London clay formations at the north end of the bay. This deposition has led to the growth of a psammosere (sand dune system). The beach extends north, part way across the mouth of Poole harbour.

Behind the sand dunes there is a large area of heathland, called Studland heath, and Poole harbour. There is a fresh-water lake amongst the dunes which was cut off from the sea by the development of the dunes. The lake is a haven for birds and other wildlife.

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