When asked what their memories are of a Dorset landscape, most people would probably describe part of the Jurassic Coast. Some of the most photographed views, which give Dorset its unique ‘chocolate box’ image, are the almost circular Lulworth Cove, the rock arch at Durdle Door (pictured above), Chesil Beach which connects the Isle of Portland to the mainland; and the white cliff towers of Old Harry Rocks – all world-famous images.
The unusual geological formations along the Dorset coast, formed by chance over millions of years, have created stunningly beautiful dramatic scenery and unique rock formations. These provide (as well as photo opportunities!) many activities that are popular with visitors, such as walking, climbing, fossil hunting, bird watching and extreme sports.
The Jurassic coast covers 95 miles of coastline from East Devon to Studland in Dorset and shows a geological “walk through time”. One way of understanding how this can be is to look at it in picture form, and you can do this by clicking here.
Visitors can access a great deal of information about all aspects of the Jurassic Coast, not least because it is England’s first natural World Heritage Site. The Jurassic Coast website www.jurassiccoast.org.uk has a wealth of information, and don’t forget the Dorset County Museum which has its own Jurassic Coast Gallery with many fossils on display – including the famous Weymouth Bay Pliosaur!
Many visitors come to the Jurassic Coast hoping to collect fossils, and responsible collecting is allowed as long as they follow guidelines on the Jurassic Coast Website. Fossil hunters are particularly encouraged to go to Charmouth where they have published a fossil collector’s guide.