Portland, The Natural Place to Be
The 'isle' of Portland, located on the World Heritage Coast, is an explorer's Island with curiosities of history and folklore just waiting to be discovered. It is a stark and striking, tilted table of limestone four and a half miles long and one and three quarters miles wide, rising to nearly 500ft before sloping gently southwards towards Portland Bill. Joined to the mainland of Weymouth by the Chesil Beach and a public road bridge, the Isle has scenery and a quality of isolation which contrasts dramatically with Weymouth. The Island is probably best known for Portland Bill and the famous lighthouse (although, there are two earlier lighthouses nearby).
It is an ideal place to visit for a host of activities, whether you're into adrenaline sports or visiting a relaxing spa. The waters provide the perfect setting for angling, diving and sailing and will be the host venue for the sailing events for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
With Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and historical architecture made from the world famous Portland Stone, you're never far away from sensing the history and nature of this rugged 'island'. Portland has been occupied since prehistoric times, with remains of Mesolithic settlement still evident. The Romans left over 300 stone coffins, and the Tudors built Portland Castle in 1540, an outstanding example of one of the sea defences commissioned by Henry VIII, and now managed by English Heritage and open to the public. Medieval inhabitants left their mark with the strip fields system or linchets. More recent fortifications such as the High Angle Battery provide an insight into the protection of the Island in the 19th Century.
Both onshore and in the marine environment, plants and animals provide a
wealth of interest for visitors to Chesil Beach and Portland. The area's unique
geology and its position are ideal for a wide variety of birds, animals and
plant life. Many parts of the Island, including the whole of the coastline, are
designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and the Chesil Beach and the
fleet lagoon are of international conservation importance.
Although small, scattered communities can be found throughout the Island, each with their own distinctive character.
Explore the Island, discover its history and heritage, try the excellent leisure and sporting facilities and enjoy all the natural assets. Portland is an Island full of surprise and endless possibilities.