“It is above all an elemental place, made of sea, shingle and sky, its dominant sound always that of waves on moving stone: from the great surf and pounding … of sou’westers, to the delicate laps and back-gurgling of the rare dead calm….”
This famous description of Chesil beach was written by the author John Fowles, who lived in Dorset. Standing upon the huge sweeping form of Chesil Beach it is hard to deny its power. The imposing scale of the shingle ridge stretching for miles along the coast and the raw interaction between rock and sea is humbling.
In this place nature is king, and not the soft existence of living things, but the primal, hard forces that, given enough time, grind continents to dust and carve out the very fabric of our planet’s surface. These processes were there at the very beginning of the world’s oceans, over four billion years ago, and they continue until our dying sun boils the seas away in just over five billion years’ time.
Car Parking and Facilities
There is parking available at the Chesil Beach Centre car park adjacent to the beach. From here it is a five minute walk over the pebble ridge to the sea.
There are toilets available when the Visitor Centre is open, typically from 9-5. Check the centre’s listing for more details.
There is good accessibility in the area around the Chesil Beach Centre, which is operated by Dorset Wildlife Trust. There is a boardwalk over the river to the start of Chesil beach, but no sea view.
It is possible to cross the road to a hard surface track accompanied by sweeping views. There are also accessible toilets open during the visitor centre’s opening hours (typically 9-5).
Beach Information and Dogs
Chesil Beach is a shelving beach made up of pebbles and shingle. There is a protected area for nesting birds at the back of the beach.
Bathing here can be dangerous; the beach shelves steeply and there is a strong undertow. Take care on the shoreline because sudden large waves can engulf people at the water’s edge.
Dogs are allowed on Chesil Beach all year but must be kept under control near nesting birds and mudflats.
Walks Around Chesil Beach
The South West Coast Path retreats from Chesil Beach’s harsh shingle to border the Fleet Lagoon.
Pick up an OS Map from our online shop to plan your Chesil Beach walking adventure.