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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Chesil Beach

If you saw my April Odds and Sods you will know what I mean when I say this is the first of my catch up posts. I made reference to this place without mentioning where it was.

This is that heap of pebbles shown in that post. Chesil Beach (also known as Chesil Bank) in Dorset, England is one of three major shingle beach structures in Britain. Its name is derived from the Old English ceosel or cisel, meaning "gravel" or "shingle". It runs for a length of 29 kilometres (18 mi) from West Bay to the Isle of Portland and in places is up to 15 metres (50 ft) high and 200 metres (660 ft) wide. Behind the beach is the Fleet, a shallow tidal lagoon. Both are part of the Jurassic Coast and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and together form an SSSI and Ramsar Site.

A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, also known as "The Convention on Wetlands", an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO, which came into force in 1975. It provides for national action and international cooperation regarding the conservation of wetlands, and wise sustainable use of their resources.

The beach is often identified as a tombolo, although research into the geomorphology of the area has revealed that it is in fact a barrier beach which has "rolled" landwards, joining the mainland with the Isle of Portland and giving the appearance of a tombolo.

The Isle of Portland is a tied island, 6 kilometres (4 mi) long by 2.7 kilometres (1.7 mi) wide, in the English Channel. The southern tip, Portland Bill lies 8 kilometres (5 mi) south of the resort of Weymouth, forming the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England.

Portland is a central part of the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site on the Dorset and east Devon coast, important for its geology and landforms. Portland stone, a limestone famous for its use in British and world architecture, including St Paul's Cathedral and the United Nations Headquarters, continues to be quarried here.


From West Bay to Cliff End the beach is piled up against the cliff. At Cliff End a hollow forms behind the beach and at Abbotsbury a stretch of saline (or brackish) water called the Fleet Lagoon begins. This is up to 3m in depth. The Fleet is home to many wading birds and Abbotsbury Swannery, and fossils can be found in the sand and mud. The Fleet connects to Portland Harbour at Ferry Bridge.

Both Chesil Beach and the Fleet Lagoon are a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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David Nurse
David Nurse
Jun 09, 2022

An interesting place. I hadn't heard of a tombolo.

An interesting post, as always.

Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas
Jun 09, 2022
Replying to

I had to look it up and then blow me, like sometimes happens, I'm watching TV and yet again some Londoner is traipsing around down here going to Burgh Island which has a causeway and as bold as brass announces it is a tombola with an A. Bingo, I thought, she hasn't heard of it either.🤣


Unknown member
May 28, 2022

Love the textures you hace captured, especially in photo #2. Who's the gentleman walking away in the last photo? He seems in a hurry or maybe it is the way you captured the photo which makes it look like that. Either way love the depth.

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