The area around Ferry Bridge is a dichotomous, but, at times, extremely beautiful place.
Ferry Bridge itself is the mouth of the Fleet Lagoon. It is here that the waters of the Fleet are partially emptied and refilled twice each day from Portland Harbour and Weymouth Bay beyond.
On the one hand, with two such large expanses of water in the harbour and the Fleet, the area is beautiful in the way that only large expanses of water can be. At sunset in particular, there are wonderful views with lots of reflected light.
On the other hand, this is a semi-industrial area with boat yards and storage areas and a lot of new housing. Ferry Bridge is also the gateway to the Isle of Portland and so the main (and only) road into Portland runs along the causeway from here. As you’d expect this can make the area a little “traffic-rich” at certain times of the day, but you shouldn’t let that put you off visiting - there are good reasons why you should and lots of people do each year.
For a start, the area is pretty and there’s plenty of space to wander around and get away from the traffic-noise. There’s a pay and display car park half-way along the causeway, which is a good launch pad to explore the Eastern ends of both the Fleet Lagoon and the Chesil Beach. It’s also a favoured spot for wind-surfers, many of whom use the stretch of water in Portland Harbour that runs for about a mile alongside the causeway. The Harbour is now home to the National Sailing Academy, but the area has been used by wind-surfers since the sport began and is well-known for its speed trials, providing as it does some of the best conditions for high-speed wind-surfing in the world.
If wind-surfing isn’t your thing, then there’s no better place than this to get a real impression of just how big the Chesil Beach is. The car park is right next to it and you can walk up and over the top to get great views of the sea and the Fleet. This, being the end nearest to Portland, is where the pebbles are biggest, making walking or sitting on this part of the beach very different to parts farther West. It is also where the beach, which is towered over by Portland itself, is at its most steep (so don’t risk swimming, the undertow is strong).
In summer and calm weather it's difficult to believe that the sea could ever possibly break through such a massive bank of pebbles, but in winter storms, it is so easy to see how it has done!
Another good reason for parking here is that the car park is also home to the Chesil Centre. This innocuous-looking building at the end of the car park houses a wealth of information about the natural and human history of the area. You can also watch informational videos and live cctv footage of wildlife under the Fleet and on the Chesil. You can also get a coffee and a bite to eat!
Other reasons to come to Ferry Bridge include the oyster farm and seafood restaurant at Abbotsbury Oysters - don’t be fooled by the name both the oyster beds and the restaurant are located at the opposite end of the Fleet to Abbotsbury, so don’t head to Abbotsbury to find them, go to Ferry Bridge!
You also need to come here if you want to take a trip on the glass-bottomed boat, The Fleet Observer.
Or you may just like to come, as many do, to play about in the shallows and watch the tide slip silently but swiftly in or out over the foreshore of the Fleet. It’s fun.
With two such large expanses of water in the harbour and the Fleet, the area is beautiful in the way that only large expanses of water can be .."