Branksome Chine

 

This was once a favourite landing place for smugglers, often used by Isaac Gulliver. The remains of a well can be seen near Seaward Path, and it is likely that this was used as a dump for contraband when the Revenue men were hot on the pursuit of a free trader.

 

Another well was discovered not so long ago at the end of a garden in Cromer Road, a few feet East of a smuggler's path from Branksome and Flag Chines. Occasionally, these "dumping" wells were concealed by placing an apple tree in a wooden tray over the opening, which could easily be slid aside when the hiding place needed to be used. The sudden appearance of the well in Cromer Road was due to the rotting of the wooden tray that a plum tree was placed in.

 

On the 21st October 1760, James Pike, landlord of the North Haven Inn at the entrance to Poole Harbour, and 2 other men were found by Revenue Men from Brownsea Island to be in possession of a cart and 3 horses guarding 100 casks of brandy, rum and tea. One of the men disappeared in a boat on seeing the Revenue Men, but Pike and his servant stayed with the contraband on the beach at Branksome. Pike convinced the Brownsea boatmen that he had nothing to do with the contraband and was merely waiting to collect a load of sand. Meanwhile, the other smuggler went to Parkstone to fetch a wagon to convey the goods to Poole. The boatmen offered Pike a fee for the use of his cart and a drop of spirit, to which he agreed but added that very soon they would have none of the spirit themselves. At that moment, about 30 horsemen suddenly appeared and re-seized the contraband, riding off with Pike behind them. The boatmen were thrown a single cask of brandy as consolation.