The wonders of Dorset’s unique Fleet lagoon are being opened up for all, with a new season of boat trips at the Chesil Bank nature reserve. The boat trips, running daily from Easter, will give locals and visitors alike a chance to encounter one of Britain’s top wildlife sites, beside the world-famous Chesil Beach.
Explore the geology, history and natural history of this unique area of the Jurassic Coast
The Fleet lagoon is the largest saline lagoon in the UK and one of North Western Europe’s most important marine nature reserves, home to a great variety of wildlife, including many rare species. The Fleet Observer is a shallow drafted glass bottomed boat specially designed and built to explore the lower reaches of the Fleet Lagoon and explore the geology, history and natural history of this unique area of the Jurassic Coast. Run by a team of local skippers under the management of the wardens of the Chesil Bank and the Fleet Nature Reserve and supported by Dorset Wildlife Trust, the boat is also ideal for educational and specialist trips. The Fleet boasts the greatest diversity of wildlife of any lagoon in the UK, with 150 species of seaweed alone, as well as 30 species of fish and many shellfish, which in turn attract wading birds, wildfowl and terns, while the beach itself will soon be ablaze with flowering thrift or ‘sea pink’.
Emily Brown, Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Discover Chesil Project Officer, said: “A trip on The Fleet Observer makes the perfect day out for those wishing to learn more about our local wildlife, spot a rare bird or see unique British marine life. Join the boat’s skipper for an unforgettable close encounter with the wonders of Weymouth’s very own blue lagoon.”
Escape the summer crowds, and experience the tranquillity of the Fleet lagoon
Angela Thomas, assistant warden of the Chesil Bank and the Fleet Nature Reserve, who manages the boat, says: “Escape the summer crowds, and experience the tranquillity of the Fleet lagoon, a natural wonder hidden behind the world famous Chesil Beach. As well as unique views of the beach, we seek out the birds and underwater wildlife that make the Fleet one of the most interesting wetland sites in the country.”
The Fleet Observer sails daily from Easter, weather and demand permitting. Adults £7, Children £4, under threes free. For more information or to book, visit www.thefleetobserver.co.uk or ring 01305 759692. Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre opens on July 21st, with displays and information all about the wildlife and geology of the area, plus a café and shop where tickets for The Fleet Observer will be on sale.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Emily Brown at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 07824 438975.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre will be run by Dorset Wildlife Trust on behalf of a partnership including Weymouth and Portland Borough Council and the Fleet and Chesil Bank Nature Reserve, with the continued help of local volunteers. Organisations helping to fund the project include the Heritage Lottery Fund, The Crown Estate, the Fine Family Foundation, Dorset County Council, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Portland Gas Trust, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Jurassic Coast Project. For more information contact Brian Bleese on 01305 264620.
The Fleet Observer
Ringed plover - Monique Vanstone