Surely all the summer barbeques ever could not be responsible for the quantity of charcoal that washes up in the driftline at one particular spot an Studland Beach. I have not been able to find out the origin of this material which has persisted for several years at least. It might have come from a boat’s cargo as there is a lot of shipping sailing in and out of Poole Harbour. Or maybe it represents debris from a fire on the heathland in The Isle of Purbeck that borders the southern shores of Poole Harbour.
This picture shows in detail the driftline pattern composed of small pieces of what looks like charcoal. The action of the waves not only deposits these black fragments on the shore as each tide recedes but also creates dendritic patterns with them.
The charcoal patterns repeat at intervals along about a 100 metre stretch of the seashore – the black of the charcoal contrasting with the lighter yellowy colours of the sand.
In some places, slipper limpet and other empty shells have accumulated with the charcoal adding a bit of colour to the driftline.
Revision of a post first published 1 June 2009
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