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Jurassic Coast Walking Guide

The 95 miles of Jurassic Coast offers excellent walking along cliffs that represent 85 million years of geological history. The Jurassic Coast stretches from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset and was added to the World Heritage List in 2001.

Jurassic Coast

In East Devon, the coast consists of steep red sandstone cliffs. Further east at Ladram Bay, more sandstone cliffs give rise to spectacular red sandstone stacks. Between Lyme Regis and Charmouth the cliffs are of Jurassic clays and shale, and landslips are common.

The highest point on the Jurassic Coast, and on the entire south coast of Britain, is Golden Cap at 627 ft (191 m) between Bridport and Charmouth. The next major feature is Chesil Beach which is an example of a barrier beach and stretches for 18 miles (29 km) to the Isle of Portland. Behind the beach is a lagoon known for its biodiversity. The Isle of Portland was an important source of high-quality building stone.

East of Weymouth the natural arch at Durdle Door is a well-known feature. The area near Lulworth Cove contains a fossil forest, whilst further east Kimmeridge and the Isle of Purbeck offer excellent walking. Reaching the last section of the Jurassic Coast, sea stacks and pinnacles, such as Old Harry Rocks at Handfast Point, have been formed by erosion of the chalk cliffs.

Jurassic Coast

The layers on this coast are rich with fossils, the remains of the animals and plants when the sedimentary rocks were originally formed. During the Triassic period, this area was a desert. Later in Jurassic period it was part of a tropical sea, and finally in the Cretaceous period it was covered by swamps. Fossil groups found here include crustaceans, insects, molluscs, echinoderms, fish, and amphibians.

The South West Coast Path National Trail runs the full length of the Jurassic Coast. This well-signed long-distance path provides access to all the interesting features and provides the basis for many circular half-day and day walks visiting this beautiful stretch of coast. In areas prone to landslips, diversions may be in place and walkers are advised to follow these for their own safety.

For more information on this area visit the
official web site for Jurassic Coast

Further Information

Regional Walking Guides

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