SOUTH and West Dorset is bathing in glory as more of its beach waters have been praised for their excellent quality.

Weymouth central, Lodmoor, Church Ope Cove and Durdle Door have once again all been marked as ‘recommended’ by the Marine Conservation Society for the annual Good Beach Guide. And the waters at Castle Cove, Bowleaze Cove, Sandsfoot Castle, Ringstead Bay and West Bay have all achieved improved on last year to also achieve the rating.

Tourism insiders say they are hoping the good news will see more tourists than ever flock to the area.

Crowds have been gathering on Weymouth beach in the sunshine this Easter half term.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council spokesman for tourism and culture Ian Bruce said: “This is very good news.

“In the past we have been somewhat unfairly criticised about the quality of the beaches so it’s really good to hear that we are going up in the league tables, so to speak.

“It’s very important that all the authorities – including water authorities – are fully engaged in making sure that every beach that we have provides excellent safe swimming.

“We have such a wonderful beach at Weymouth; it has recently been voted seventh best in the country by TripAdvisor.

“And the others on the list tend to be ones that are beautiful but out of the way. So we are probably number one in terms of family access.

“We really do take a great pride in it.

“There’s an enormous amount of work that goes in to Weymouth beach to keep it pristine.

“Unfortunately we can’t do it for every beach, so it’s really good that the ones we don’t actively manage are now also starting to get excellent quality ratings.”

Crowds have been gathering on Weymouth beach in the sunshine this Easter half term.

Sandworld manager Vicky Bray said the town has been very busy and ‘there’s a lot of positive talk about Weymouth.’ She added: “It’s been a very successful Easter. I think the Olympics in 2012 have been a drive in people coming here.

“Weymouth seems busier; everybody’s in good spirits.

“Having really good beach water ratings and first-class sand, you can’t go wrong.”

Meanwhile in Purbeck, Kimmeridge Bay – which failed tests last year- has now achieved a ‘recommended’ rating.

MCS Coastal Pollution Officer Rachel Wyatt said last year’s dry summer had a hand in this year’s excellent ratings. She added: “Most people don’t realise what a big impact the weather can have on bathing water quality, but this has really been highlighted in the last few years.

“The years 2008, 2009 and 2012 were, according to the Met Office, amongst the wettest summers on record since 1910, and fewer UK bathing waters met minimum and higher water quality standards because of increased pollution running off rural and urban areas and overloaded sewers.”

  • MCS is urging beachgoers to vote with their feet by bathing only at beaches recommended in the Good Beach Guide to maintain pressure on water companies, environmental regulators and local councils to tackle the sources of bathing water pollution.