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Chesil Beach & Centre, Dorset

Posted: Monday 20th January 2014 by ASpecialPlaceEachWeek

Chesil Beach (photo: Alex Brown)

One of the UK's natural wonders - topped off with a new Dorset Wildlife Trust beachside centre and cafe!

The Centre overlooks the sweeping 18 mile shingle beach

Chesil Beach is a 18 mile long shingle barrier beach on England's south coast. It sweeps around from West Bay to the Isle of Portland.  You can help with a beach clean, following recent storms, which is happening on Saturday 25 January.

Halfway along the causeway from Weymouth to Portland on the A354 (Portland Road) is the Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre.  The Centre is run by friendly, knowledgeable, local volunteers and is open 7 days a week, from 10am until 5pm (Easter until end of September) and 10am until 4pm (Winter).  It's run by Dorset Wildlife Trust on behalf of a partnership including Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, the Jurassic Coast Team, the Chesil Bank and the Fleet Nature Reserve.  

No matter what the weather there is always wildlife to be seen at the Chesil Centre, check on the active bird life that's about or view the images from the underwater camera. At this time of year you may see Red Breasted Mergansers on the Fleet, as well as Turnstones, Ringed Plover and Oyster Catchers.  The Centre not only provides a perfect spot for wildlife enthusiasts as it overlooks the sweeping 18 mile length of the shingled Chesil Beach, it is also perfect for those who just want to enjoy the spectacular scenery of this Dorset stretch of the celebrated Jurassic Coast. The inviting, licensed Taste* Cafe means you can enjoy good, fresh food whilst taking in the views.

For more information on the centre: the Chesil Bank and the Fleet Nature Reserve website

Chesil Beach is also one of 27 recently designated Marine Conservation Zones in England.  The MCZ area stretches out from the beach to encompass an area on undersea habitat ending at the reefs of the Stennis Ledges.  Read more about the Chesil Beach and Stennis Ledges MCZ here

Chesil's wildlife has been studied for many years.  The beach was also one of 284 sites around Britain and Ireland that were identified as potential nature reserves by Charles Rothschild in 1915.  Rothschild was the founder of The Wildlife Trusts and he created a list of wildlife sites in need of protection - the first list of potential nature reserves in Britain and Ireland.  The list was passed to the Government in 1915. Rothschild was interested in the shingle habitats at Chesil. Find out more about this

The Fine Foundation Chesil Centre (photo: Marc Smith)

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