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The beautiful Isle of Portland

Portland BillPortland is a tiny island just off the Dorset coast next to Weymouth. Well, technically it isn't exactly an island! It's 'tied' to Weymouth by an amazing bank of 180 billion pebbles that form Chesil Beach and the causeway road that runs next to it. But we call it an island none-the-less for we are surrounded by the sea.

Locally, Portland is affectionately known as The Rock, for it is famous for its Limestone. Christopher Wren (once an MP for Weymouth) chose Portland Stone to build St Paul's Cathedral. Over 50 of London's churches which were destroyed in the Great Fire are also built in 'our' rock. Whitehall's Cenotaph, parts of the United Nations building in New York and many of the 2nd World War gravestones in Belgium and France are also made of Portland Stone.

coastal path flowersThe island is just over 4 miles long and slightly less than 2 miles wide. Many of the Quarry's have long given up all of their usable rock and now they have become places of interest in their own right. There is the Butterfly Quarry where more than half of the UK's 57 species can be found. There's is the slightly quirky Tout Quarry with it's hidden sculptures and stone carvings and of course there is our famous lighthouse, Portland Bill. I don't think pretty is the right word to describe Portland, apart perhaps from May when the island is covered with masses of wild flowers, but there is rugged, natural beauty and spiritual air that I find very appealing. And there are the most amazing coastal views from the paths that crisscross the island.

Portlanders are known to be independent. In centuries gone by, Thomas Hardy wrote about Portland in his book, The Isle of Slingers, so called because the unfriendly locals used to throw rocks at strangers! He also described Fortuneswell (where the Jasmine House sits) as: "Houses above houses, one man's doorstep rising behind his neighbour's chimney, the gardens hung up by one edge to the sky" and this is an apt description of the tiny streets and the stone houses built may years before town-planning which have their own unique, quirky style.

Today the natives are very friendly and will warmly welcome you, especially if you have some time to chat! Life is slower down here than in the cities. It's another reason why coming here is so healing.

 

Portland – part of
the Jurassic Coast

Chesil Beach

I love Portland! I hope you will too.

In May and June the island is covered with wild flowers. In the summer we get more sunshine than just about anywhere in the UK. It's also windy though which is why the Olympic sailing will be here in 2012.

In the winter storms can be spectacular when the sea batters the island, but in the safety of the Portland Stone built Jasmine House, it too can be a great time to visit.

If you have any queries, call me – 01305 821799 or email me. I hope to welcome you to Portland soon!

"Learning, loving and laughing "

 

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