Exploring England #3
Think of beaches and images of never-ending sand, wide blue skies and brilliant sunshine come to mind. But Chesil Beach, on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset is anything but sandy.
The beach, formed at the end of the last ice age, is 28 km long, up to 12 metres high and completely composed of pebbles. The size of the pebbles varies from one end of the beach to the other. At West Bay in the north the pebbles are tiny while south at Portland they are much larger. It’s said that fishermen landing on the coast at night can pinpoint their location according to the size of the stones on the beach.
Fleet Lagoon runs parallel to the ocean behind Chesil Beach between Portland and Abbotsbury. The lagoon is tidal and at low tide there’s just a puddle of brackish water left. A boardwalk across the tidal flats is decorated with wooden carvings of local wildlife.
After the bridge crossing, the pebbles begin. It’s an arduous climb to the top of the mound and the slope on the other side, down to the water’s edge, is just as steep.
The beach may be vast, but each of its parts is tiny.