Many may think of the Ferrybridge nature reserve and Portland Harbour as a place to visit in winter for waders, geese, ducks, divers, grebes and gulls but it is much more than that. Certainly, in winter, it is always worth a look but in summer the area is transformed and the shingle bank of the Causeway becomes a riot of colour and has probably the best visual display of coastal plants to be seen in Dorset. Add to that some interesting plants on the inland side of Chesil beach, nesting little terns (a rarity now) and nesting ringed plovers as well as butterflies and other insects and you have a place worthy of attention any time of year.
The reserve stands at the very eastern end of the Fleet where it joins Portland harbour. The Fleet is tidal and so low tide is best for birds at any time of year but for flowers and insects it has to be mid-May to mid-August. My records for this area include the Fleet, Chesil beach, the Causeway and Portland Harbour.
The site has a refurbished visitor centre (now operated by the Dorset Wildlife Trust) together with a very good coffee shop which serves good lunches and snacks. In summer a glass-bottomed boat (the Fleet Observer) cruises the lower part of the Fleet, it leaves from behind the Ferrybridge Inn.
This site does have a couple of downsides though. The Causeway is a very busy road and so there is a lot of traffic noise and the car park, whilst large and with ample space, is unmade and so is an absolute disgrace! You need wellingtons to walk across it and if you do wear shoes they will end up covered in a white sandy film. In view of the charges made to park here I think the council could do better, much better in fact!