Ferrybridge and Portland Causeway

An area noted for wintering sea birds and water fowl but also a key site for many maritime flowers and associated insects.


Site Name Ferrybridge and Portland Causeway
  • Dorset Wildlife Trust
  • Open Access
  • Site of Scientific Interest
County Dorset
More Information https://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/chesilcentre
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1002654…
Site Projects Weymouth Area
Ferrybridge and Portland Causeway

Ferrybridge and Portland Harbour: for ducking and diving! -

Many may think of the Ferrybridge nature reserve and Portland Harbour as a place to visit in winter for waders, geese, ducks, divers, grebes and gulls but it is much more than that. Certainly, in winter, it is always worth a look but in summer the area is transformed and the shingle bank of the Causeway becomes a riot of colour and has probably the best visual display of coastal plants to be seen in Dorset. Add to that some interesting plants on the inland side of Chesil beach, nesting little terns (a rarity now) and nesting ringed plovers as well as butterflies and other insects and you have a place worthy of attention any time of year. 

The reserve stands at the very eastern end of the Fleet where it joins Portland harbour. The Fleet is tidal and so low tide is best for birds at any time of year but for flowers and insects it has to be mid-May to mid-August. My records for this area include the Fleet, Chesil beach, the Causeway and Portland Harbour. 

The site has a refurbished visitor centre (now operated by the Dorset Wildlife Trust) together with a very good coffee shop which serves good lunches and snacks. In summer a glass-bottomed boat (the Fleet Observer) cruises the lower part of the Fleet, it leaves from behind the Ferrybridge Inn. 

This site does have a couple of downsides though. The Causeway is a very busy road and so there is a lot of traffic noise and the car park, whilst large and with ample space, is unmade and so is an absolute disgrace! You need wellingtons to walk across it and if you do wear shoes they will end up covered in a white sandy film. In view of the charges made to park here I think the council could do better, much better in fact!  

Ferrybridge and Portland Causeway

50.578364676861, -2.4681241404315
Dorset Wildlife Trust, Open Access, Site of Scientific Interest
This table indicates how many species of each of five interest levels there are on this site. 100% are highly interesting species whereas 20% are common species that are of no specific interest. Click/tap an intetest level to see the species for that interest level:
Species Interest Level No of Species
80% 7
60% 21
40% 47
20% 60
The number of species recorded per species group:
This is the number of species recorded on this site grouped by the Phase 1 habitat classification they are often associated with. It gives an overview of the type of habitats that MAY occur on this site. Click/tap a classification to see greater detail of the composition of habitat types within this class:
Phase 1 Habitat Classification No of Species
H: Coastal 42
B: Grassland 33
A: Woodland 18
J: Brownfield 10
E: Bog and Fen 9
D: Heath 7
F: Water Margin 7
C: Upland Habitats 4
Site Diary
Diary Date Notes Project Click for records and photos