Middlebere Quay

Middlebere Quay (78293)



Remains of Middlebere Quay, Corfe Castle Estate. Towards the end of the 18th century clay pits were being dug at Norden to extract ball clay, in 1805 a tramway (technically known as a plateway - see http://www.citizan.org.uk/interactive-coastal-map/48746/) was built to transport the clay to barges moored at Middlebere Quay, which eventually fell out of use in 1905 as the clay began to be moved by train instead of barge. The quay was later used in WWII when the land was requisitioned by the war department.

The tramway ran for approximately 3 miles, the line of which can still be seen today along with several limestone blocks used to support the plates. It is though to be the earliest tramway in Dorset. An OS map from 1901 shows the extent of the quay as including two piers, a slipway, several buildings and a windlass.

The remains of the quay include a series of Purbeck limestone walls and a series of wooden piles protruding from the mudflats, ball clay can also be seen spread across the site. The site was re-visited by CITiZAN in July 2017 with help from the University of Southampton and National Trust volunteers and an RTK GPS system was used to plot the timbers, the site will be re-visited in the winter of 2017 to plot the remains of the tramway.

A study of the site was also carried out in 1982 by Martin Papworth as part of his dissertation and a survey of the site was drawn by B Langdown in 2007.

Post-Medieval (1540 - 1901)
Period comments

Early 19th C to Early 21st century

Specific Date Range
The earliest date of the feature, as a year, if known
The latest date of the feature, as a year, if known
Feature Types
Monument Type - Broad
Monument Type - Narrow
Monument Description
Evidence Type - Broad
Evidence Type - Narrow
Evidence Description
Object Type - Broad
Object Type - Narrow
Object Description
Height OD (m)
How accessible is the feature?
Accessible on foot (footpath)
Accessibility comments

National Trust property, also the wooden remains are only accessible at low tide.

Other records:

NRHE Number
HER Event Number
External Link

Over to you...

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Feature Update Surveys

1 survey accepted and 0 pending.

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Survey Information
Date of survey
12th July, 2017
Feature located?
State of the tide
Proximity to coast edge
Intertidal zone
Coastal processes
Active sea erosion
Is there a coastal defence?
Other threats?
Vegetation growth, Structural damage/decay
If other, please specify
How visible are the remains? ABOVE GROUND
Limited visibility (partial remains)
How visible are the remains in the face of the cliff, ridge or dune? IN SECTION
Do you know if the feature is?
Is well known, Has local associations/history
Recommendations and Comments
What actions (if any) would you recommend for this feature?

The site will be revisited in the winter of 2017 when there is less vegetation in order to plot the remains of the tramway as well as the quay

Do you have any other comments?


LTidbury's image
Site plan by LTidbury