|The long Chesil Shingle|
Carr, A. (1978). The long Chesil Shingle. Geogr. mag. (Lond.) 50(10): 677-680
In: The Geographical Magazine. IPC Magazines Ltd: London. ISSN 0016-741X, more
Geomorphology; Sediment transport; ANE, British Isles, England, Dorset [Marine Regions]; Marine
Chesil Beach, the most impressive shingle structure along the British Coast, extends westwards from Portland, Dorset for 20 km. At one time Chesil may have extended much further westward, when the barrier was out in West Bay. Nowadays the shingle structure is joined to the mainland at both ends but over the remaining 13 km it is backed by the shallow, tidal, Fleet lagoon. Opposite the Fleet, Chesil Beach is between 150 and 200 m wide, but it is narrower both adjacent to the cliffs in the west and at the extreme eastern end also. The development of Chesil Beach is complex and some of the stages are hard to date. The first Chesil Beach developed as an offshore bank, and wave action gradually moved the beach shorewards. The origin of the material from which the beach is derived has invoked considerable attention as has the systematic way in which the mean size of the pebbles broadly increases towards the eastern end. Recent studies have shown that, at least on this beach, thickness appears to be the most significant dimension which affects pebble movement and sorting. While movement is predominantly to the east, reversed grading has also been recorded. The size grading of pebbles is restricted however to the zone above low water mark.