In the Weymouth and Portland area, Dorset Wildlife Trust manages the Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve and Conservation Centre, the Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre, King Barrow Quarries Reserve and Tout Quarries Reserve.
Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve & Conservation Centre
Located just on the edge of the town, Lorton Meadows Nature Reserve is Weymouth’s best kept wildlife secret with views over Portland and Weymouth Harbour. With a variety of habitats, there is a huge range of wildlife species to be seen. These include butterfly species such as the marbled white and holly blue, and a number of wildflower species in the meadows including orchids.
For summer 2015, the Conservation Centre is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm, during term time. It will also be open on Tuesdays, 10am-5pm, during the school holidays. There are a range of events on – our popular Caterpillar Kids activities, and wildlife themed weekends.
The Centre is run by Dorset Wildlife Trust on behalf of a partnership including Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, the Jurassic Coast Team, the Chesil Bank and the Fleet Nature Reserve, with the continued help of local volunteers.
On the eastern edge of the Fleet Lagoon, and halfway along the causeway from Weymouth to Portland, the Centre is the perfect location to explore the remarkable Chesil Beach. At 18 miles long, Chesil Beach forms part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and is home to a variety of wildlife.
The Centre is run by friendly, knowledgeable, local volunteers and is open 7 days a week, from 10am-5pm (Easter until end of September) and 10am-4pm (winter). Based within the centre is the taste*café, with amazing views across the Fleet Lagoon.
Abandoned 100 years ago, these former stone quarries have been left to regenerate naturally with some scrub management and control of recreational activities. The 12.2ha site contains a variety of interesting plant species such as horseshoe vetch, kidney vetch and autumn gentian. It is an excellent site to spot birds including little owls, whitethroats and linnets.
This quarry was worked commercially from c.1780-1982, and has since been turned into a stone sculpture park created from the remnants of the quarry’s limestone including Antony Gormley’s ‘Still Falling’. The site has been left to regenerate naturally, though some management is needed to control invasive scrub. As with King Barrow Quarries Reserve, this 12.9ha site is home to a range of wildlife including the Adonis and Chalkhill blue butterflies.