Chesil Beach and the Fleet Lagoon
18 miles and 180 billion pebbles
Chesil Beach, also known as Chesil Bank, is located on the south coast of England in the county of Dorset. It is a pebble beach approximately 18 miles long and stretches north-west from Portland to West Bay. For much of its length it is separated from the mainland by an area of saline water called the Fleet Lagoon. Chesil Beach also forms a tombolo linking Portland to the mainland. At the southern end the pebbles are fist-sized while at West Bay they are pea gravel.
The Fleet Lagoon is an area of shallow, saline water between Chesil Beach and the mainland. It is 13km long and its width varies from 900 metres at Littlesea down to just 65 metres in the Narrows. The deepest part is 4-5 metres deep, but all of the mid and upper Fleet is less than 2 metres deep.
Hamm Beach is on the eastern side of Chesil Beach facing into Portland Harbour. It is an area of shallow sand dunes overlying shingle. It was originally a much longer beach and was a tombolo but the southern section is now submerged below modern development. Hamm Beach is a separate entity from Chesil Beach and formed in a different manner.
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The three areas are important for wildlife with a number of national and international designations to help protect the environment. The area also lies at the centre of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.
For more information on each of these areas use the links within each paragraph or the navigation bars on the left. An AtoZ is also provided containing information on many aspects the area.
The picture gallery contains many pictures from across the area taken over the last 15 years. There is also a collection of old postcards going back over 100 years showing how the area at the southern end of Chesil beach has changed in that time.
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