Chesil & Fleet A to Z

O to R
Oil pollution Chesil Beach is susceptible to oil pollution from accidents in Lyme Bay. If the oil gets into the pebbles it would prove impossible to remove. There is also a danger of oil getting into the Fleet from an accident in Portland Harbour. A boom is available to place across the entrance at Ferrybridge to minimise the impact on the Fleet.
Oil tanks There used to be a large collection of oil tanks on the Mere at the southern end of Chesil Beach. The first tanks appeared in 1907 and most were in place by 1930. A few changes were made as the heliport was developed to make way for hangars and to store aviation fuel. Since the closure of the navy heliport in 1996 the tanks have been steadily removed. All of the tanks have now gone to make way for the Sailing Academy and Olympic sailing facility. Look at the postcards section of this website to see how the tank farm was developed, and then taken down.
Olympics The sailing events of the 2012 Olympics will be staged out of Portland Harbour. The land base is the old navy heliport on the site of the Mere behind the southern end of Chesil Beach. The development includes reclaiming land from Portland Harbour and building a harbour enclosed by a breakwater built of Portland stone.
Ownership Chesil beach has three owners: From Portland to the boundary stone at Littlesea it is owned by the Crown Estates, From the boundary stone to West Bexington it is owned by Ilchester Estates, and from West Bexington to West Bay it is owned by the National Trust.
Oyster Farm There is now a commercial oyster farm on the sandbanks on the north side of the lower Fleet. The species farmed is the Pacific oyster, rather than the local oyster. The racks are clearly visible at low tide.
Oyster thief The oyster thief, Colpomenia peregrina, is a type of algae (seaweed) that grows on a solid holdfast. When fully grown it contains sufficient buoyancy to float away with the holdfast. It gets its name from growing on oysters, then developing sufficient buoyancy to float away with them. Can sometimes be seen in large quantities washed up along the Fleet shoreline in February/March.
  Pebbles Chesil Beach is made up of a ridge of pebbles sitting on a bank of sand and clay. The pebbles are graded in size from fist-size at Chiswell to pea-size shingle at West Bay.
  Percolation Water can percolate into, out of, and through Chesil Beach. At spring low tide many streams of water can be seen emerging from the beach and running into the Fleet. Under storm surge conditions the rate of percolation through the beach increases, and can lead to the formation of canns.
  Pillboxes A large number of pillboxes were built along the Fleet and Chesil Beach shoreline during WWII as part of the fortifications against a possible invasion. Many have now gone, but a significant number still remain. The Defence of Britain Project has mapped many of the military installations. Click here to search for military installations. Beware though that this list is not easy to use and some of the locations are not too accurate. Also see the pillbox website by clicking here for details of the different types of pillboxes. The ones along Chesil are mostly type 22 and 26, with a few type 25's.
  Pinks Known locally as Portland Pinks, The thrift, Armeria maritima, is an abundant flower of the southern part of Chesil Beach. When in flower in May it covers the area with a pink carpet.
  Pirates Cove The bay just below the Narrows at NGR SY657769. Much used by families in the summer and good for snorkelling
  Portland Portland anchors the southern end of Chesil Beach. It is a large limestone promontory stretching out into the English Channel.

The railway line from Weymouth to Portland was built along the southern end of Chesil Beach. The line was opened in 1865. It closed to passengers in 1952 and finally closed to all traffic in 1965. The line included a bridge across the mouth of the Fleet.

There have been a number of proposals to build a line from Weymouth to Bridport running the length of Chesil Beach over the last 150 years. A line was built from Upwey to Abbotsbury but could not be continued through lack of money. A line was also built from Maiden Newton to Bridport andthen onwards to West Bay. There is currently a proposal to build a light railway between Weymouth and West Bay.

  Rifle Range

The military rifle range on Tidmoor Point is part of the Wyke Regis Training Area. A copy of the bye-law covering this range can be downloaded here. For general information on the Wyke Regis Training Area click here.

There is a much older rifle range on Chesil Beach at Ferrybridge. It is believed this was built around 1907.

  Rivers No rivers drain into the Fleet
  Ruppia See 'Tasselweed'
Last updated 18/04/2010 Copyright ©2007-2010 Chickerell BioAcoustics