One of Britain’s most popular shore diving sites and also a haven for anglers, this 18 mile stretch of pebbles and shingle starting from Portland was formed at the period of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago. The beach is littered with the wreckage of ships that have lost battles to demanding waves of the past and come to settle on the pebbles and rocks of Chesil. It can be dived in most conditions where sea swell is less than 2 ft. The beach is not subject to any restrictive tides and offers a spectacular underwater trail of plant and fish life to depths not exceeding 18 metres. Chesil Cove, the sheltered part of the beach reserved specifically for diving activities, offers both novices and experienced divers a year-round underwater experience and is often also used by visiting dive schools. Currents are weak or almost absent at Chesil Cove.
Depth: 2 to 16 metres. Entry point: Chesil Cove. Dive Centre: Scuba Centre. Public Toilets: Chesil Cove & Chickerell. Tides: Weak.
This Jurassic Coastline is so outstanding both underwater and on the surface, that significant parts of it have now been designated as "Special sites of Scientific Interest".
Underwater Nature Trail
What starts as very large pebbles at the sheltered Chesil Cove, the best dive site on Portland, drops in size uniformly towards Burton’s swimmers beach, becoming no more than a shingle carpet ending as a relaxing sand bed.
The "Hag pebbles", on the banks of the Chesil Beach, are highly prized though removal of pebbles is still strictly forbidden. In reflection of rituals dating back to the times of the Roman Goddess, Diana, Hag pebbles bearing the mark of the "Veasta" of the Chesil Beach, are still believed by some to be powerful charms.
IMPORTANT: Chesil Beach Diving Guidelines
1. Always use a Surface Marker Buoy when diving
2. Always leave note of your activity with someone on the surface
3. Always respect bathers and especially anglers, staying out of their way
4. Do not leave behind your litter
5. Remember that removal of pebbles from Chesil Beach is forbidden and illegal
6. Where car parking spaces around the Cove are unavailable, you are advised to use the Masonic Car Park at the Scuba Centre
7. Watch out for swell when entering and exiting the beach. If swell is over 2ft, exits can be difficult and require assistance
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