A postcard from Weymouth Bay

Postcard Series

Blue sky and sea, with boats

Weymouth Bay is an oasis of blue sky and sea, with excellent sailing conditions. This is because it shelters from the worst of the English Channel weather behind the Island of Portland. The Bay includes Portland Harbour, Weymouth Beach, Studland Bay and Lulworth Cove. It is home to the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy as a result of being the site for the 2012 Olympic sailing events.

Weymouth Bay and features
Weymouth Bay and features

History of the Bay

In 2019, the aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth II anchored in the Bay, in order to allow disembarkation of a squadron for Yeovilton. In 1805, the year Aaran House was built, the Earl of Abergavenny sank in the bay, costing 261 lives. 1824 saw the ‘Great Tempest’, which destroyed much of the Esplanade. Most famously, King George III popularized the concept of sea-bathing for health reasons and effectively launched the Holiday Industry, here in Weymouth.

Fishing and marine life

Anyone who has ever “crunched” along the Esplanade in early Spring will realise there is plenty of marine life in the Bay. Gulls and crows/rooks regularly leave captured shellfish on the pavement. Lacking the powerful beaks of larger gulls, crows have developed a method to break into these tough little meals. They can be seen dropping shelled creatures from a height before leaving tens of thousands of “shelly” corpses for people to walk upon.

Cruise liners queuing up outside Portland Harbour
Cruise liners queuing up outside Portland Harbour

As well as shellfish, there are plenty of crabs and lobsters while various locations prove to be excellent spots for fishing. However, those nervous of crabs or larger fish around them while paddling can relax. It is fairly rare to see any of the marine life unless one hires a fishing boat for the day. Of course, the types of fish vary depending on location. Luckily, local Charter Captains are very skilled and can usually find any of those below.

View towards Studland Bay from the Old Stone Pier
View towards Studland Bay from the Old Stone Pier

Nearby Studland Bay is one of the largest breeding grounds for sea horses, due to extensive beds of sea grass.

Water-skiing in Weymouth Bay
Water-skiing in Weymouth Bay

Winter Fish

Bream (Black)
Bream (Gilthead)
Bull Huss
Conger Eel
Mullet (Golden)

– (continued)

Mullet (Grey)
Wrasse (Ballan)
Wrasse (Ballan)

Summer Fish

Conger Eel