Reserve Office 01305 760579










Top Left; A bone from the beak of a dolphin. Right; Pink sea fans live on rocky reefs. Dislodged fans end up washing up on to the shore. Bottom Left; Cuttlebone – the internal shell of a cuttlefish. Right; Mermaids purse – an egg which contains the embryo of a small shark, skate or ray. After hatching the empty cases wash ashore.

Recent storms have brought many interesting finds on to the beach, both natural and man-made. Beach combing is a national pastime and a must for children and adults alike, however caution must be advised, as not all items are harmless.

Over recent weeks Portuguese man ‘o war have been found on Chesil. These creatures are called siphonophores, groups of polyps which rely on each other for survival, each with a specific role; movement, catching prey, feeding and breeding. They are found in warm Atlantic waters and are sometimes blown on to the coast of the UK. Whilst they are stunning and amazing creatures, they have a sting, which is used to kill squid and fish, it is extremely painful and comes from their long contractible tentacles, which can reach up to 20m and may sting even if detached or washed ashore.

Another hazard on our shores are fishing hooks and line which are often washed ashore or left on our beaches and may be harmful to humans and pets, as well as wildlife.

Make sure that children and dogs are kept away, if you can, collect up the line and dispose of it safely, being careful not to touch any hooks.


Some Beach Safety Advice: –

  • If you are walking along the beach, beware of high waves, even during calm weather.
  • If alone make sure somebody knows where you are, where you are going and what time you think you may return.
  • Watch out for hazards which may wash ashore both man-made and natural. Don’t touch anything you are unsure of.
  • Always keep a close eye on children and pets and make sure they stay a safe distance away from the water’s edge.
  • Swimming off of Chesil is strongly discouraged, the beach shelves steeply and moving shingle makes exit from the water extremely difficult. Waves and currents cause a very strong undertow.

If you find any items/objects you believe to be unsafe or hazardous, please report to the Chesil Beach Centre, the Reserve Team or Coastguard.