Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast

  • World Heritage Site
  • 95 miles long
  • Fossil hunters paradise

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site following the coastline from Old Harry Rocks, Swanage in the East to Orcombe Point, Exmouth in the West.

The Jurassic Coast was England’s first World Heritage Site; it covers 95 miles with rocks recording 185 million years of the Earth´s history. World Heritage status was achieved because of the site´s unique insight into the Earth Sciences as it clearly depicts a geological ‘walk through time´ spanning the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

The entire length of the Jurassic Coast is accessible via the South West Coast Path which offers the walker stunning views, with a bird´s eye view of many coastal features.

During World War II several sections of the Jurassic Coast became property of the then Ministry of War. One of the Royal Navy´s largest bases was at Portland Harbour, though it has since closed. A major army base at Bovington remains in use today, and large areas of land, including the coast between Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge, including Tyneham ghost village, are still only partially accessible. Areas of the coast near Exmouth, The Fleet at Weymouth and the beaches at Studland were also used for training during the war, but have since been returned to civilian use.

For places to stay in Devon, as a base from which to visit the Jurassic Coast and the surrounding area, please see: Country House Hotels in Devon , Coastal Hotels in Devon , Spa Hotels in Devon , Bed & Breakfasts in Devon or Self-Catering Cottages in Devon

Parts of the coast, especially around Portland, can be very dangerous, and frequent shipwrecks have been a feature of the coast throughout recorded history. In January 2007 the coast experienced its most environmentally damaging wreck when the MSC Napoli, a 2,400 capacity container ship, was beached at Branscombe near Sidmouth, losing oil and cargo.

On May 6 2008, a 400-metre (1,312 ft) section of the coast was destroyed after a landslip that was described as the worst in 100 years. This resulted in lots of fossil hunters gathering to unearth fossilized treasures, which has been a favourite pastime for many people visiting the coastline here. There are even family fossil hunting tours from Charmouth organised by Chris Pamplin. Chris was Senior Warden at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre before becoming Earth Science Advisor for the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site

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