More Blackpool than Blue Pool, Purbeck attraction gets illuminated

The lake and woodland walk at Blue Pool near Wareham in Dorset has undergone a dazzling transformation bringing light and music to a winter evening’s stroll.

New owners Matt and Julie Jones, who are opening up the tourist attraction all year round, wanted to give visitors something to look forward to at this time of year and literally, bring light to these gloomy months.

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The event called Illuminate is on Thursday to Sunday evenings up until Sunday 27th February 2022.

Blue Pool illuminated
Blue Pool illuminated

The circular 1k walk around the lake has been transformed

Famous for its colourful lake

Blue Pool is famous for its colourful lake which can appear to be a vivid blue, although also green or turquoise depending on the light.

The pool was created from a former clay pit and the particles of blue ball clay suspended in the water, diffract light in different ways, producing a spectrum of colour.

So with plenty of colour in the summer, the company OT Event Technicians, that illuminated Abbotsbury Gardens near Weymouth in the run up to Christmas, suggested it could choreograph an equally colourful winter experience.

Blue Pool illuminated
Blue Pool illuminated

A very relaxed, if slightly surreal stroll through the woods

Reopened under new ownership in 2021

Matt and Julie Jones took over the visitor attraction in 2021 following the death of its owner, Jennifer Barnard. Her father had bought Blue Pool in 1935 and she had continued to run it until she died at the age of 91 in 2020.

Matt Jones said:

“The chance to buy something like Blue Pool only comes up once in a blue moon. I just fell in love with this place and it was an opportunity not to be missed. It’s a really wonderful place and has lots of loyal visitors.

“I like it’s charm and character – the tearooms were built in 1935 and have an art deco feel – we didn’t want to change that but have tried to restore it back to how it would have been in the 1930s.”

Blue Pool illuminated
Blue Pool illuminated

Banishing the winter blues

Improvements to the grounds

There’s also been work to the grounds and the trees to improve the ecological diversity and allow more light to the woodland floor although the lake will be left as it is.

Matt continued:

“We’ve had ecologists look at the pool and it’s been decided that we should do nothing to it. The clay is naturally occurring and it’s high in zinc, so nothing really grows in the lake and there’s no fish.

“The more we tamper and interfere with nature, the more of a mess we can make! It’s the same pool that was there 100 years ago and it will be the same hopefully in a 100 years in the future.”

Tearooms at Blue Pool illuminated
Marshmallows at Blue Pool illuminated

Hot drinks and food are available in the tearooms, while outside you can toast marshmallows

Sustainable tourism

The tourist attraction is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with some rare species including 20 percent of all of the UK’s green sand lizards, so it has to be looked after carefully.

Matt added:

“The obligations of it being a SSSI are no more than how we intend to manage it anyway – on ecologically sound principles. We’re also keen to promote sustainability across all that we do, including the tearooms and gift shop.

“Nature is one of those things, you want to encourage people to come and explore it by organising events like this but at the same time we want to leave nature alone. It’s a balance and generally people are very respectful. We aim for sustainable tourism.

“It’s a lifetime project so nothing will happen overnight. I just hope I can do as well as Jennifer Barnard – running this place and living into my 90s – if I can do that, I’ll be delighted!”

Blue Pool illuminated
Blue Pool illuminated

The path is well signposted and it’s recommended to take an anti clockwise route around the pool

Further information

It’s recommended that visitors wear walking boots or wellies and may wish to bring a torch

Tickets for Illuminate cost:

  • Adults: £9.50 plus £1.25 fees and tax
  • Children 5 to 17 years: £4.75 plus 90p fees and tax
  • Under 5s free

More about the event and the purchase of tickets is available on the Blue Pool website

Blue Pool illuminated
Blue Pool illuminated

Creating an exotic landscape at Blue Pool, the same event company was responsible for lighting up Abbotsbury Gardens near Weymouth

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