ARTWORK: Time and Tide ARTIST: Nigel Ross

Looking out across the harbour, where the Stone Pier projects from the Nothe, Time and Tide is a sculptural bench made from a single huge slab of oak. Created by the artist Nigel Ross, its shape echoes the sweep of the waves, and is made from the same wood that was used for so many centuries for ships’ timbers – the famous hearts of oak. It’s the perfect place to sit and watch the boats as they come and go, or to imagine the dramatic storms that have shaped the Dorset coast.

Nigel Ross joined the merchant navy at the age of 16 and sailed around the world, before working in the forestry industry and setting up his own forestry business on the Isle of Arran. He began sculpting with lengths of fallen trees, and by the mid-1990s he was able to devote himself to his art work full-time. He has created abstract sculptures, bridges, benches and furniture for commissions across Britain, Europe and the USA, working from his studio near Dunkeld in Perthshire.

Location: Stone Pier, near the cafe, Barrack Road DT4 8DZ 

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The Stone Pier has its origins in the 18th century: a map from 1774 shows a short pier extending from the Nothe, sheltering the harbour from easterly winds. The original pier was destroyed by the Great Storm of 1824, but it was soon rebuilt, and in 1840 the other side of the harbour was protected by the Pile Pier. Both piers were extended in the 19th and 20th centuries, when Weymouth had a regular ferry service to the Channel Islands. The ferries, which ran from 1793 until 2015, were connected to the railway in 1865 by a single track along the north side of the harbour, which was used until 1987; the rails were finally removed in 2021. 

But perhaps the oldest ferry crossing of all is the one taken by the little rowing boat across the harbour. Until the first Town Bridge was opened in 1597 this would have been the only way of crossing between Weymouth and Melcombe, and it’s still a delightful trip, though these days it only runs in the summer months.

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