I am going to take you to a bleak and beautiful place. A place where nothing grows. A place of stones.
In this post you will see little else. A van on a road and, beyond it - stones.
You will see no plants in this post - only stones.
There are no insects - only stones.
These stones (or, rather, pebbles - because they are smooth and rounded and you won't hurt yourself if you fall) go on seemingly for ever - up and up, then for two miles one way (if you walked left out of picture) and around fifteen in the other.
You can change the seeming height in photographs. Often the flowers and insects I show you appear on your screen massively larger than they are in real life. It has to be like that - otherwise you wouldn't see them! But in this post, I have the opposite problem. There is no way I can express in pictures how high this bank of stones is, nor how it seems when you stand on top and see it curve into the mist of distance.
Where we are now - towards the eastern end, a couple of miles before they join land at Portland, the pebbles are oval and about three inches long. At the western end, where they join the mainland, they are like gravel. The sea, it seems, sifts them. And for much of its way, there is water on either side. Sea on the south. A lagoon called the Fleet on its other side which separates it from the coast of Dorset.
|Almost at the top - and you begin to see the sea on the other side.|
Photographs of Chesil Beach tend to show it from above - from the top of the Island of Portland - so you can see the sweep of it, the roofs of houses leading down to it. This gives it a Mediterranean feel. But when you are walking along the road beside it, along the two mile causeway between Weymouth and Portland, it feels very industrial. But it isn't. This is nature.
Of course there are plants here, if only in its lower reaches; otherwise I wouldn't be talking about it on Loose and Leafy! But before we look at the dramatic flowering which happens each year in May I want you to grasp the context. Outside the towns of England, we are used to 'green and pleasant'. Even in towns there are trees. There are pebble beaches along some of our shores; dramatic cliffs too. But there's nothing like this - not on this scale. Which is why it's a World Heritage site.
|Back to the causeway road. On the other side strong winds are|
appreciated by kite surfers who race alongside it in Portland Harbour.
In the next post - I'll let you see the flowers!