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
Protection
  • Dorset Wildlife Trust
  • Open Access
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
4
County Dorset
More Information https://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/chesilcentre
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1002654…
Site Projects
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
4
These are the habitat types that MAY be present on the site based on the species recorded there (top 10 only shown):
Phase 1 Habitat Types Description No of Species
H6

Sand Dunes

16
B3

Calcareous Grassland

14
H8

Maritime cliff and slope

14
H2

Saltmarsh

12
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

11
A2

Scrub

9
B2

Neutral Grassland

9
J1

Cultivated/disturbed land

9
B5

Marsh/marshy Grassland

8
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

7
These are the number of species for NVC codes on the site - it DOES NOT mean that the NVC community is actually present on the site: it might be! (Top 10 only shown):
NVC Community Description No of Species
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

15
MG05

Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigra [Crested Dogs-tail/Black knapweed] grassland

13
CG03

Bromopsis erecta [Upright Brome] grassland

12
CG02

Festuca ovina - Helictotrichon pratense [Sheep's Fescue/Meadow Oat-grass] grassland

11
CG07

Festuca ovina - Pilosella officinarum - Thymus polytrichum [Sheeps Fescue/Mouse-ear hawkweed/Wild Thyme] grassland

11
CG06

Helictotrichon pubescens [Downy Oat-grass] grassland

9
CG01

Festuca ovina - Calluna vulgaris [Sheeps Fescue/Ling] grassland

8
CG10

Festuca ovina - Agrostis capillaris - Thymus polythricus [Sheeps Fescue/Common Bent/Wild Thyme] grassland

8
MG06

Lolium perenne - Cynosurus cristatus [Perennial ryegrass/Crested dog's tail] grassland

8
MG07

Lolium perenne [Perennial ryegrass] and related species grassland

8
The number of species recorded per species group:
Title No of Species Recorded
Flowering Plants 96
Birds 24
Insects & other inverts 14
Mammals 1