Chesil & Fleet A to Z

E to H
East Cliff The 50 metre high cliff to the south east of West Bay. See the West Bay section of the picture gallery for pictures. NGR SY467900.


The Fleet connects to Portland Harbour at Ferrybridge. Originally this was a ferry boat across the entrance but this was replaced by a wooden bridge in 1839. The iron bridge replaced this in 1896, and this was in turn replaced with a concrete bridge in 1985.

Chesil Beach is very popular for sea angling with access at Chiswell, Ferrybridge, Abbotsbury, Cogden, Burton Bradstock and West Bay. Angling is allowed in the lower Fleet from the shore. Note that rod fishing is not permitted from a boat anywhere in the Fleet, and shore fishing with a rod is not permitted in the mid and upper Fleet.

Commercial fishing using seine nets has now virtually disappeared from Chesil Beach compared with the level of activity 100 years ago. Within the Fleet there is still a small controlled fishery for eels using fyke nets.

Fleet churches There are two Fleet churches. The old church is located in Butterstreet Cove at NGR SY635801and is all that remains of a larger church destroyed in the great storm of 23rd November 1824. A replacement church was built further along the road to Fleet House some years later at NGR SY634805.. The old church is often referred to as Fleet Chapel. Earliest record of a church at Fleet is in the Domesday Book in 1086.
Fleet House The manor house of Fleet located just south of Herbury Gore at NGR SY617806. Probably built in 1603 for the Mohune family. Used by American forces during WWII. Converted to a hotel immediately after the war.
Fleet village Much of the village was destroyed in the great storm of 1824. The remnant cottages and part of the old church can be found near Butterstreet Cove at NGR SY635800. After the storm a new church was built away from the shoreline
Fleet Observer A shallow draft boat with a transparent bottom that takes visitors around the lower Fleet to observe the wildlife above and below the water. Trips can be booked at the Chesil Visitors Centre. Visit the Fleet Observer website for more information.
Flood channel A flood channel has been constructed along the back of Chesil Beach through Chiswell and out to the end of the oil tanks to intercept water coming through and over the beach under storm conditions. Chiswell has suffered severe flooding in the past from over-topping waves and the development of the Mere over the last 100 years has worsened the problem by obstructing the flow of water into Portland Harbour. The flood channel aims to provide an easy path for the water flow into the harbour and away from Chiswell.
Footpaths The South-West Coastal Path runs along most of the length of the Fleet on the land side and then continues north-westwards along the land side of Chesil Beach. Along the upper Fleet the path moves away from the shoreline to protect sensitive habitats. A spur also runs south from Ferrybridge to Portland. The Macmillan Way terminates on Chesil Beach at Abbotsbury.
Fossils Fossils occur all along the landward shore of the Fleet and along the landward side of Chesil Beach from Abbotsbury to West Bay. The main site is at Burton Bradstock. There are two websites that provide more detail on what can be found. Discovering fossils gives a good introduction to the local fossils and how to find them while the UKfossils site gives more information on the geology of the area. The Chesil Visitors Centre organise fossil walks along the lower Fleet. Look at the Whats On pages for details. Please note that the Fleet landshore can be very hazardous due to areas of very soft mud. We recommend you join one of the guided walks organised by the Visitors Centre. Scientific researchers should contact the Fleet Warden in the first instance to discuss their work.
Freshwater An area to the north-west of Burton Bradstock where the River Bride passes through Chesil Beach to the sea. Currently also the site of a holiday park. NGR SY478895.

Geocaching involves solving clues and using a GPS unit to find hidden caches. There are a number of caches around Chesil Beach and the Fleet:

GC155RE GC260Q1 GC15095
GC1Y2R3 GC1Z696 GC1Z69Q
GC26H1E GC1Z69E  

For more information on geocaching go to

  Geograph This is a project to provide a series of photographs for all of the Ordnance Survey squares within the UK. Click here for the project home page, and here for the Chesil and Fleet page. Click on each thumbnail picture for more detail, or use the arrows to navigate around the area.
  Glasswort Grows below the high-tide line on the sandy area of the Lower Fleet. When burnt the ashes of the plant contain soda ash, an important material in the manufacture of soda glass. See Wikipedia for more information.
  Gore cove The small bay to the south of Herbury Gore. NGR SY615807
  Herbury Gore A spit of land projecting out into the mid-Fleet. Used as a rifle range by troops preparing for the D-Day landings. NGR SY613809.
  Hive or Hythe Old English for a landing stage or place.
  Holywell spring A small spring entering the upper Fleet at NGR SY590826
Last updated 21/10/2011 Copyright ©2007-2011 Chickerell BioAcoustics