Isle of Portland
The Isle of Portland is a peninsula connected to the Dorset Coast AONB by Chesil Beach and the A354.
The approach to Portland is pretty impressive because of the drive across the causeway.
Once you set foot on the island you will get a good sense of its rich history.
Portland is a place of maritime history and quarrying and it is forever linked to its most famous product, Portland stone.
It has been used extensively as a building stone throughout Britain, notably in major public buildings in London such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and The Cenotaph.
The Isle of Portland is the Jurassic Coast’s most southerly point.
The Jurassic Coast is England’s only natural World Heritage Site. It was inscribed by UNESCO for the outstanding universal value of its rocks, fossils and landforms.
On Portland you will find evidence of its rich prehistoric natural history. Just look down and spot imprints of fossils!
Head to the most southerly part of the island to see its most famous landmark, the red-and-white striped Portland Bill Lighthouse.
The lighthouse was built in 1906 and is still operational.
Tours of the lighthouse are available and include walking the 153 steps up to the light itself.
Near the lighthouse you will find another famous Portland attraction: Pulpit Rock.
Pulpit Rock is a coastal feature, and it represents an open bible leaning on a pulpit. It was formed in the 1870s after a natural arch was cut away by quarrymen at Bill Quarry.
Despite the danger, for many decades it has been a popular place for tombstoning, and it is also a popular point for anglers.
The best way to explore Portland is on foot.
Section 49 of South West Coast Path loops around the island and takes in all the highlights.
This 13-mile loop offers dramatic, rugged cliffs, nationally rare plants, hidden coves and stunning views.
If this is a bit too much, then head for Portland Bill Lighthouse.
A short 3,5-mile walk starts at the car park at Portland Bill and explores the fascinating landscape around the southern tip of the island.
You can easily extend this walk and include the lower half of the western coast.
This longer 5,5-mile Portland South walk follows part of the South West Coast Path, with equally stunning coastal views.
Or go to Portland Castle and enjoy a 3,5-mile circular walk around Portland’s north east corner.
Here the remnants of the quarries’ transport systems have been turned into nature reserves and the dramatic cliffs give far-ranging views over Chesil Beach and the Dorset coast.
Last but not least. Start in Weymouth and walk to the Isle of Portland.
This 6-mile Weymouth Railway Walk follows the Rodwell Trail from Weymouth Station.
The Rodwell Trail is a green link for walkers and cyclists between Weymouth and Ferrybridge, where the Fleet Lagoon with its nature reserve enters Portland Harbour.
It follows the course of the old Weymouth to Portland Railway.
Cool Places to Explore
Chesil Beach | Abbotsbury Swannery | St Catherine’s Chapel | Hive Beach | West Bay | Durdle Door | Lulworth Cove | Isle of Purbeck.
Cool Places to Eat
Lobster Pot | The Club House | Hive Beach Café | The Three Horseshoes.