The Natural Environment
Nature often goes unseen and unheard but we like to encourage a better awareness and appreciation of our immense wealth of natural assets. Much of Dorset is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, attracting visitors all year round, wanting to enjoy the 'great outdoors'.
Weymouth and Portland is unique in supporting such a wide variety of wildlife in close proximity to many busy tourist areas and Dorset, as a whole, is a largely unspoilt county and still remains the peaceful province of walkers and naturalists.
Our natural environment is second to none with superb beaches, rugged coastline plus dramatic seascapes and stunning landscapes that often surprise and delight the visitor. There are many important natural assets in and around the area that are of international significance; from the mighty Chesil Beach to the internationally renowned Dorset Coast.
Radipole Lake RSPB Nature Reserve is right in the heart of Weymouth; Lodmoor RSPB Reserve, within 2 miles, east of Weymouth; Chesil Beach and the Fleet Lagoon just off the causeway to Portland. All these reserves are Sites of Special Scientific Interest and of national importance. The Isle of Portland, also a haven for the naturalist boasts the Tout Quarry SSSI Nature Reserve plus two Butterfly Conservation Reserves; Broadcroft Reserve being the first butterfly reserve in England.
Radipole Lake RSPB Nature Reserve
This unique nature reserve run by the RSPB, Europe's largest conservation organisation, sits right in the centre of Weymouth. It is just a few minutes walk from the beach, harbour and both the rail and bus links. The wetland reserve is one of the most popular in England and whilst most visitors are interested in bird watching, the site is also rich in flora and fauna. The freshwater lake is just a part of this large Site of Special Scientific Interest, which is over 220 acres in size, and has the largest reedbed in the southwest. Many of the birds you can see at Radipole are exotic visitors from faraway places - mankind are not the only ones to holiday in Weymouth! The reserve is accessible all year round with a level circular walk suitable for all abilities, including the disabled visitor. There are viewing platforms and benches to rest and relax on. An audio-visual trail has been created to help the visually impaired visitor to also enjoy a visit.
The Visitor Centre closed temporarily in January 2012 as the RSPB is embarking on an exciting programme of improvements to create a second-to-none destination for people to connect with nature. The reserve is still open however and events are being held such as pond dipping and guided walks. The new Visitor Centre will be officially opened in May 2012 and will contain fantastic new features including a media wall with live nest cams and footage from underwater cameras and remote night cameras, indoor seating, visitor toilets and catering for hot and cold drinks, food and a facility for visitors to order RSPB goods online. A new Family Trail will also be open from May to complement the duck-feeding and pond-dipping platforms already in place. It will include new boardwalk trails, viewing platforms, some of them raised to give birdís eye views into otherwise hidden areas of reedbeds, ditches and open water. There will also be a new storytelling and general recreation/picnic area.í
Radipole Lake and RSPB Nature Reserve - Tel: 01305 778313
Countryside Ranger Service
The rangers develop walks and trails, linking the coast and countryside, making the area more accessible to our visitors. Guided walks and talks maximise the superb and wide ranging opportunities; interpreting the birds, flora and fauna of this outstanding area.