Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tombolos island

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TOMBOLOS. an island or reef situated just offshore has a dramatic effect on the wave conditions along a beach. As consequence, material is swept into the sheltered area behind it forming either a salient in the beach plan shape into the beach plan shape or sometimes allowing a neck of sediments to deposit, connecting the island to the beach. This feature is referred to as a Tombolo, after a particularly impressive example on the Tuscany coast of Italy, (Tombolo di Orbello). In general, tombolos form in areas of very low tidal range, where the complicating effects of tidal currents and changes in the water level are small.


Island is of Jurassic limestone extends into English Channel and is Dorsets southernmost point. Joined to the mainland by the geological phenomenon known as Chesil Beach, the beach is said to have been formed approximatety 10,000 years ago and its formation is known as a tombolo which can be briefly described as, a strech of sediment deposit forming a connection between an island and the mainland or two or more islands. They are formed when an island or reef situated just offshore has an effect on the wave conditions along a beach. As a consequence, material is swept into the sheltered area behind it allowing a neck of sediments to deposit, connecting the island to the beach. Another process found to form these connecting features is Longshore drift, when sediments are moved horizontally along a beach and reach an indentation the sediments are deposited at the point of indentation allowing the formation to continue, this was the case during formation of Chesil Beach where an indentation occurred at , an This feature is referred to as a Tombolo, after a particularly impressive example on the Tuscany coast of Italy, (Tombolo di Orbello). In general, tombolos form in areas of very low tidal range, where the complicating effects of tidal currents and changes in the water level are small.

(include info on beach tombolo etc) Portland 4 1/ miles long by 1 ¾ miles wide, population of over 1,500

Island throughout history has been linked with the name of Portland stone. Quarried at least since roman times, blockstone of the Jurassic Portland beds has been used in famous buildings- St Pauls Cathedral and Whitehall. Beds date from around 140 million years ago, of marine origin contains many fossils from a sub tropical sea. Large ammonites from the beds can be seen in walls and gardens around island.

Islands economy relied on quarrying as government granted planning consents for quarries many of which still remain open today. In recent years economy relied less on quarrying as numbers employed decreased and more on Naval presence with harbour and MoD research establishments after the WW

Loss of jobs due top closure of these sites.

Therefore need to reduce dependency on defence agencies. And restructure and regenerate economy by reusing vacant Naval base and other sites diversifying economy. Options include;-

- development of appropriate Tourism � drawing on natural environmental and heritage assets.

South Dorset Economic Partnership (SDEP) + private sector coordinate regeneration of economy attract investment.

- Assisted area status � grants from Do Trade and Industry secured for current and new business.

- Grant aid from EU’s Konver 1 programme assists defence dependant industries to diversify.

- Single Regeneration Budget � funds targeted at social, employment, tourism and environmental initiatives.


Evidence of Mesolithic settlements from remains,

Not a lot remains of Roman settlements except Rufus Castle, near Church Ope, which is believed to have been built by William II (“Rufus” C1056-1060) Rebuilt 158, said to be oldest building of Portland stone. Farming, Fishing, mining and quarrying formed mainstay of Islands economy for many years

As English Naval Power grew Portland became a place of strategic importance and as a part of his plan to defend the coast Henry VIII ordered construction of Sandsfoot (partly destroyed) and Portland (built 1540 now managed by English Heritage) Castles to be built.

Much land owned by Crown Estate as a result of its status as a royal manor. Court Leet safeguards the extensive areas of common land.

Three lighthouses built over a period of two hundred years. Steam power and consolidation of Britain as a naval power saw changes to Portland. Building of breakwaters (info on breakwaters) to form Portland Harbour was a feat of engineering, which took more than 6 million tonnes of Portland Stone. Harbour played important roles in both world wars and important place of embarkation for invasion of Europe in 144.


Island linked with name of Portland stone. Quarried since roman times, blockstone has been used in many famous buildings such as St Pauls Cathedral, the UN building in New York, Waterloo Bridge and Whitehall. The Portland beds 140 million years old and are of marine origin. Stone is part of upper Jurassic region 10-140 million years old. 5 meters in depth. Above is base of Lower Purbeck. Known as a dimension stone. Crushing for aggregate has become more wide spread. Dimension stone still quarried for, for resoration and new building.

Changes in industry have had marked effect on numbers of people employed in quarrying. Dimension stone quarrying still important but manning of modern machinery is greatly reduced. Numbers reduced for few hundreds to a few tens of men.

Planning permissions for mineral working on Portland cover 0hectares (815 acres) 7% of island., all but 0hectares (50 acres) of which were granted by permissions in 48 and 51 this reflected demand for stone at time (post war) reconstructing British cities Plymouth Southampton Swansea. e.g.s of where Portland stone was used. Only small amount was suitable for use as dimension stone therefore quarrying was expected to be limited, but no specific restrictions placed on planning consents. Although sites have also provided a source of cruished rock � not envisaged when permissions granted � has had environmental impact and implications for scale of future operations.

Original permissions granted they had no time limit now since Mineral Act 181, new mineral developments have 60year limit. Restoration and reclamation of old quarries is required some closed quarries may be reopened for if stone is needed to match existing restoration work � result � quarrying can continue for many years into future even without the granting of any further plan consents. Quarrying of blockstone has been in six quarries Admiralty, Boweres, Coombefield and Weston, Independent, Inmosthay and Perryfields. Also areas of island where consents granted but quarrying has not begun. INDICATED IN RESOOURCE PLANS(probably been fleeced)

In future rate quarrying rate will depend upon

- continued demand for dimension stone -a specialist market

- more general demand for crushed rock

- the demand for Portland stone for use as rock armour in sea defences.

- Architecurl styles adopted

- Buoyancy of the building industry

- Demand for natural stone.

Market for crushed rock less clear. Demand for crushed Portland stone will depend on availability of material from other sources closer/more easily attainable to the areas demanding, transport costs are significant in end costs High bulk �low value.

Different quarries on island give rise to different types and qualities of Stone due to different beds in geological series. More systematic programme of working the mineral reserves due to fewer land ownerships and firms.


Carefull consideration is needed in establishing methods of land resoration. Different types of fill

Infilling with quarry waste

Infilling with inert waste � waste stone from quarries, builders rubble, non decomposing material.

Infilling with other non inert or putrescible waste. � household and garden refuse degrades BUTProduces methane co and a liquid � leachate..


Retained trees, hedges and woodland areas, together with any on site and/or off site screen planting shall be prtotectedmainained and all failures replaced annually throughout operation.


All plant and buildings shall be painted in a colour and maintained throughout operation.


Where archaeological remains exist

Provide adequate opportunity and access for archaeological investigation and recording of the site.

Agree on selection of a properly qualified archaeologist to carry out the investigation.


Stockpiles and overburden mounds shall be located to minimise environmental impact in locations to max heights agreed.



Throughout history the economy of Portland island has been able to comfortably rely on the capital provided by the quarrying industry, however as the population of the island began to grow as did the technology used for the stone extraction, leaving many islanders jobless due to the use of machinery. The island has long had a strong military presence due to its geographically strategic defensive position, however when the Ministry of Defence began using the harbour as a Naval research centre, it seemed that the economy was “saved” and that no-one need worry. In more recent past it has been announced that the Ministry of Defence planned to close the research station and move on, this caused quitew a stir and since then there has been a concerted effort from the central government and local businesses to ensure that the economy of Portland is kept from failure.


The Island of Portland boasts many places of interest with a wide range of church buildings and military installations of the past, however, the most well known attractions include, Portland Bill lighthouse overlooking the English channel, one of the best preserved of Henry VIII’s coastal forts is Portland Castle, the impressive sweep of Chesil Beach tombolo; Portland Museum and Shipwreck Exhibition, church Ope Cove, with the ruins of Rufus Castle and St Andrews Church. There are also the gardens, the Tout Quarry and sculpture park, a butterfly reserve, Art Galleries and Cliffside walks offering spectacular views.

Seeing as the island is so small, the attractions upon Portland are all situated very close together. The most obvious attraction to mention is the famous Portland Bill Lighthouse and vistors centre, positioned at the Southern most point of the island on a dramatic rocky outcrop. It was built between 10-106 and stands 16 feet high, it is surrounded by rock pools and old disused coastal quarries where some of the wooden derricks once used for loading stone onto boats still stands.

Further along the coast is Ope Cove which is home to the original Saxon St Andrews Church abandoned in 175, and the St Andrews Church memorial church, built in memory of the crew of a vessel “The Avalanche” on route to New Zealand in 1877. The Avalanche was sunk when 106 people lost their lives. The remaining twelve people were rescued by local fishing and rowing boats. The construction of the church was prompted by the owners of the vessel with donations from the crown and New Zealand. The cove and its attractions are overlooked by the ruins of the Rufus Castle, which was built by Rufus the son of William the Conqueror, but fell to William the Conqueror’s grandaughter after a feud in 114 with King Stephen.

The Portland museum and shipwreck exhibition houses the islands smuggling artefacts, with the adjoining building containing the Portland Gallery exposed the Islands natural and social heritage and history.

Portland Castle is just one of Henry the VIII’s defensive fortresses, the purpose of this one was to protect the harbour against invasion. Built in 15, it changed hands twice and was one of the last defences to surrender to Cromwell’s men, it remained functioning for four hundered and fifteen years until 154 as it was recommissioned in an effort to prevent piracy and smuggling.

The Portland Harbour is the first area noticeable when entering Portland, it is one of the worlds largest man-made harbours, the massive breakwaters were constructed in the mid 1th century and used over 6 million tonnes of Portland stone, the harbour is bound by the island the mainland of Weymouth and is backed by the Chesil beach tombolo.

The Portland Harbour is very popular with participants of water sports offering a safe sheltered area for sports such as sailing, windsurfing, SCUBA diving, canoeing and swimming.

The afore-mentioned plans to develop the abandoned Ministry of Defence Naval Research centre at the harbour into a watersports center for holiday makers and professionals alike will improve the ease of participation in these activities.



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