Posted June 18th, 2012 | No Comments
The Olympic Torch will shine it’s light on Dorset from 12-14 July before it continues it’s journey to the Olympic Stadium in London, where the last Torchbearer will light the Cauldron at the opening ceremony to officially mark the start of the Games. Holiday in Dorset at this time and enjoy the spectacular sight as the torch is carried from Portland Bill to Weymouth Bay where there will be great celebrations all night.
Stay at Quarries Reach and watch it from the door step http://www.contemporarycottage.co.uk/self-catering-cottages-portland-dorset/quarries-reach
Follow the Olympic torch route in Dorset on this link http://www.visit-dorset.com/whats-on/london-2012-sailing/the-olympic-torch-relay
Posted March 28th, 2011 | No Comments
Staying in a Contemporary Cottage, why not hire a bike and get it delivered and collected to and from your door. Weymouth Bike Hire deliver and collect FREE to you at your holiday home in the Weymouth & Portland Area. Click on www.weymouthbikehire.co.uk to book your cycle.
Bikes for family to the adventurous mountain biker, they have them all including bikes for Teens, Juniors, Pods & Tag-a -Longs. If you are looking for an activity whilst on a short break or holiday in Dorset cycling is the answer. It is also a superb location for cycling. Explore the stunning coastline, nature reserves, towns and countryside in a relaxing and healthy yet exciting way.
The borough of Weymouth and Portland has some fantastic cycle routes. Some of these routes have been documented and are available as PDF documents for you to download and print. Like this one to Portland Bill http://www.weymouth.gov.uk/XX_Leisure/Sports/Cycling/Images/New_Portland_Route.pdf
These six cycle routes have also been produced in full colour glossy fold out leaflets and are available for 50p each from Weymouth and Dorchester Tourist Information Centre’s as well as Westham Cycles, Tilleys, Weymouth Raleigh Centre and Dorchester Cycles.
Posted August 11th, 2010 | No Comments
At the southern most point of the county of Dorset lies the gorgeous Isle of Portland. As it is a tied island, it can be accessed via Chesil Beach which runs from Weymouth all the way down to Portland Bill. The coastline of Portland is celebrated as it is a central part of the UNESCO heritage site, the Jurassic Coast. The island itself is small, only 4 miles long by 1.5 miles wide, and is formed completely from limestone. It is classified as an ancient Royal Manor, which means that it is owned by the crown.
There has been archaeological evidence that Portland has been inhabited continuously since the Middle Stone Age (the Mesolithic period), though it wasn’t always known as Portland. In fact the Romans referred to the island as Vindelis. Throughout the history of England, the small island has been targeted by attacking forces. There are many ancient castles littered across the landscape which proves this, like the Portland Castle which was built by King Henry VIII in 1539 to secure the coastline from marauding Frenchmen. Around the latter part of the nineteenth century, Portland Harbour was formed to assist the tasks of the Royal Navy. It is in fact one of the largest man-made harbour in the world! During the World War II, Portland was the target of heavy bombing, so most of the Naval fleet was deployed to the north, though on D-Day 1944 the harbour was a major embarkation point. But at the close of the twentieth century the Naval base at Portland Harbour was closed and it is now solely used as a recreational area.
For centuries, stone from Portland quarries has been excavated to be used in the construction of places of import in the United Kingdom. After the Great Fire of 1666 over six million tonnes of white limestone was used to rebuild London. Well known buildings like St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace are also graced with Portland Stone. Following World War I the Crown decreed that a quarry be opened to provide the stone for over half a million gravestones in war cemeteries. Even more was employed to carve the headstones of hundreds of thousands of fallen World War II soldiers.
Today, Portland is considered one of the most beautiful resort areas in England. It is host to thousands of tourists every summer who come to the island to find natural beauty and many outdoor activities. In 2012, Portland will be the location for the Olympic Sailing Events.
Posted July 2nd, 2010 | No Comments
The Isle of Portland in Dorset is one of the main gateways to the legendary Jurassic Coast of southern England. This gorgeous stretch of land is known for its abundance of highly prized limestone which is quarried and used to construct many well known buildings, like St. Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace, throughout the UK. Limestone might be the most profitable of Portland’s exports, but it is really the natural jewels that you can find on this peninsula which attracts so many of the tourists that visit here year after year.
The first glimpse of Portland can be seen as you drive onto the island bypassing the long stretch of Chesil beach. Along this beach you can find every kind of water sport you can think of to fill your days. Windsurfing, diving and sailing are well established pastimes in this region, and it is here that will be the venue for the 2012 Olympic sailing event. If diving is more your fancy, you can hire guides and instructors to aide your venture into Portland Harbour, the deepest man-made harbour in the United Kingdom. There are many old wrecks to explore underneath the water’s surface, including some fascinating relics from WWII.
On land, you can make your way to Portland Bill, the southern-most point in Dorset, which is the location for the red and white striped lighthouse that is still in use today. Two other lighthouses are also on the Bill; the Old Lower Lighthouse, home of the Portland Bill Bird Observatory, and the Old Higher Lighthouse, which is privately owned. A former owner of the Higher Lighthouse was Dr. Marie Stopes, the pioneer of birth control who opened the first family planning clinic in London in 1921. She also founded the Portland Museum which features maritime artefacts and history.
Also of interest is the sheer amount of pure, unadulterated land to be found here! You can walk or cycle around the cliffs or even take this opportunity to explore more of southern Dorset. Don’t forget to visit the two castles that are on the peninsula, Portland Castle and Rufus Castle. Portland Castle was built under King Charles in the sixteenth century to defend this run of coast from the French and the Spanish. It is one of the best preserved castles from this era and is not to be missed. Rufus Castle, named after William II with his red hair, is the ancient Norman castle that was originally built in the twelfth century, though what remains today was mainly rebuilt around the 1400s. It stands on a rock overlooking the Church Ope Cove.
There is a wide selection of holiday accommodations available to suit all budgets, ranging from hostels to B&Bs, self-catering cottages to hotels. Wherever you choose to stay, make sure to ask the owner’s recommendations on their favourite places to visit in Portland, as this little jewel of the south has tonnes to offer.
Posted June 15th, 2010 | No Comments
For a new spin on a walk whilst in Portland, why not visit the Tout Quarry Sculpture Park. The abandoned quarry is situated between the cliff’s edge and the road to Portland Bill on the northwest corner of Top hill. You can access this quarry by walking along the road to Fortuneswell, turning right onto Wide street, then right again at the Tradecroft Estate. It is at the bottom of the hill.
In 1983, the Tout Quarry Sculpture project began to make something beautiful out of a deserted old spot that had lost its usefulness. Now, visitors are able to walk through the quarry exploring the wide variety of different works of sculpted art. And, with so much displayed, you could visit every year and still see something new each time.
New to the park is the stone lithophone, an instrument made entirely of stone. Dame Evelyn Glennie, percussionist, is set to play this remarkable instrument, for the opening ceremony of the sailing event for the 2012 Olympics. To make this, each stone had to be painstakingly sculpted and tested to produce a specific tone.
For those that are keen to take this experience into a more active role, it is possible to take courses in stone sculpture via the Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust. They offer weekend, 1 week, 2 week, and 4 week courses on selected dates throughout the year.
Posted June 10th, 2010 | No Comments
June is a special time in Portland. As spring begins to melt into summer a small colony of puffins make their return to Portland Bill just in time for mating season. The puffin, which looks like the love child of a parrot and a penguin, is a medium sized, stocky bird that lives its life mainly in open the opens waters of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. They survive by diving deep under the sea to catch their prey of sand eels and other fish. It’s almost like they swim in a silvery bubble, as the air within their feathers is forced out.
As an endangered species, they can only be found on land in certain parts of England, the three most famous being Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire, Bempton on Humberside and Portland Bill in Dorset. They return to the same burrows on the mainland annually to breed, usually around April or May. Each colony of puffins can contain thousands of pairs, which mate for life. After laying their egg, the couple stay on land for forty days to feed and protect their offspring. Then the young bird is on its own for another 10 days, as its parents return to the sea. Once their adult feathers have grown, they make the difficult journey into the open ocean at night for the first time.
It is a truly magically experience to be able to watch these young, endangered birds take their first flight off of Portland Bill.
Posted October 9th, 2009 | No Comments
BBC’s Autumnwatch team visited the RSPB reserve at Radipole Lake in Weymouth and the Portland Bird Observatory and Field Centre to watch and film migrating birds. They have commented that there is ‘no better place in the country, other than Portland Bill, to witness bird migration.’
Therefore come to Weymouth and Portland and visit the birdwatcher’s paradise.
Autumnwatch is shown on BBC 2 on Friday nights at 9 pm.