On Chesil Beach a tale of lovers on the Dorset coast follows ITV’s Broadchurch as a catalyst for bringing in yet more tourists to this South Coast holiday hot spot.
Author Ian McEwan’s novella On Chesil Beach is a story of a newly married couple’s honeymoon and how their relationship was irrevocably altered whilst staying in a Dorset seaside hotel.
However, don’t let that put you off coming with your partner and exploring this unique feature of the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast and the area around it.
Running 18 miles from Chesil Cove, Portland to West Bay and along its length are dozens of places to stay from cosy bed and breakfasts to larger and plush hotels.
Places like, the Moonfleet Manor Hotel at Moonfleet that is literally a stones throw from the beach would be an excellent choice. As is the Portland Heights Hotel, that overlooks the whole length from high above from its cliff top location at Portland.
Seafood is of course on the menu at a plethora of beach side cafes and restuarants strung out along it.
Quiddles at Chesil Cove is a good starting point, The Crab House Café at Wyke Regis both serve cracking seafood. Also The Manor at the village of West Bexington, The Hive on the beach at Burton Bradstock are very popular. Once at West Bay you are spoiled for choice, The Riverside, The Watch House Café plus there are numerous tiny take away food cabins dotted around the pretty harbour.
Abbotsbury the mid-point along the beach is a warm coloured stone built village that has a large sub tropical garden and the famous Abbotsbury Swannery both are big draws for visitors. Cafés pubs and small shops around the village provide a convenient stopping off place. To the south of village St Catherine’s Chapel at the top of a low hill that provides a vantage point over both the beach and village.
A feature of the beach is that the size of pebbles changes from Portland down to West Bay, at Portland they are around the size of potatoes and by the time you get to the end at West Bay they are the size of peas! Rumours say that smugglers could gauge where they landed on the beach by the size of the pebbles.
The shingle beach is around 600 feet wide and about 50 foot high in all it has three different owners, The Crown Estates, The Ilchester Estate and The National Trust. They all are responsible for different sections as its heads west from Portland.
Inside part of the beach is an area of shallow brackish water known as the Fleet. Every few years the hundreds of swans that live at the historic Swannery are rounded up by dozens of volunteers. The swans are then checked by vets, ringed, measured and released.
RARE TERNS NEST ON CHESIL BEACH
Fishing from the beach is popular as is bird watching. Rare terns nest in places on a protected area of the pebbles and the mud flats also has visits from many more common seabirds and on occasions rarer species on migration their routes too.
Spectacular waves frequently break on and over the beach in the winter period so again popular with storm chasers and at calmer times a walk on the beach is a must hard work at times as the pebbles sink with every step but never the less healthy an invigorating.
On Chesil Beach is a perfect place to aim for that weekend or short mid week break. Don’t let that troubled association in the film put you off as this Dorset beach is more likely to enhance rather than harm any relationship!