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Things to do around England’s world-famous Jurassic Coast


Posted by Luci Ackers on Jan 12, 2018

With properties located across Britain we have no shortage of interesting places waiting to be explored. From National Parks to AONBs, famous World Heritage Sites to lesser-known hidden gems, we have something to suit all.

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But perhaps one of our most popular (and one of our favourite!) areas has got to be the Jurassic Coast. Right down in the south of England, the Dorset and East Devon Coast is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site, often referred to as the Jurassic Coast, recognised for its impressive geological history that spans an incredible 185 million years. This area of coastline is known for the huge number of fossils that are found on the beaches every year. Prehistoric remains are packed into its stunning cliffs and people come from all over to visit.

The Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage site is a glorious 95-mile stretch of coastal cliffs, beaches, coves and intricate rock formations. The South West Coast Path is England’s longest waymarked long-distance walking route and winds its way along the coast from Somerset, through Devon and Cornwall, all the way to Dorset. It’s an ideal option for those of you staying in the area and wanting to explore.

Take a look at our collection of properties in East Devon

Or our collection of properties in Dorset

How to walk it

You can pick the Coast Path up wherever you fancy and walk for as long as you wish. A lot of our properties provide really easy access to it, so you’ll never be far away from a really good walk. The terrain varies, so there will be a doable section for all abilities. Surrounded by rocky cliffs, and with the far-reaching views off the sea always on one side, it’s a very beautiful route.

You can take a look at the South West Coast Path website to learn more about it, see the different sections and plan your own route.

Why is the Jurassic Coast so famous?

Back in prehistoric times, this whole area was covered by the sea. Molluscs and crustaceans and other small animals lived and died in the waters. Sediments washed down from the land forming the different layers of sedimentary rock that we can see in the cliff faces today. The sea eventually retreated from the land, leaving behind it the remains of the preserved sea creatures lingering in the cliffs.

The cliffs along here vary from sandstone to limestone to Jurassic clay and shale. They are soft and exposed to the elements; the erosion that takes place as a result carves the interesting land formations, arches, stacks and coves that characterise the coastline. It also means landslips and rock movement is common, exposing and moving fossils to the beaches and revealing layers upon layers of rock from the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous periods. It’s a mesmerising place to explore.

Attractions

If you’re staying in one of our charming Retreats along the Jurassic Coast, there are a few places you won’t want to miss:

Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door

Two examples of typical Jurassic Coast landforms, both of these landmarks have become important tourist attractions. They can be found between Swanage and Weymouth in Dorset and, not only are they stunning but, between them, they showcase excellent examples of how sea erosion is impacting the soft rock of the coastline, gradually wearing it away. Lulworth cove is horseshoe-shaped with a nicely sheltered beach that is very popular for leisure activities.

Old Harry

The Old Harry Rocks, also in Dorset on the Isle of Purbeck, are famous chalk formations comprising a sea stack and stump. Check out this National Trust circular walking route to explore the area.

Lyme Regis

This town continues to be a hotspot for fossil hunting. Known as the birthplace of Palaeontology, it was here that Mary Anning made many of her important finds and there is now a fossil museum here. The town itself is picturesque with a number of historic landmarks while the beach is a good one for fossils.

Chesil Beach

Close to Lyme Regis, Chesil Beach is an impressive 18 miles long and its pebbly shore is separated from the mainland by a saline strip lagoon. It too is great for fossil hunting, prone to little landslips, the cliffs and rocks are often disturbed enough to bring fossils into view. Ammonites are the most common ones here – they are little coiled shells, so keep your eyes peeled!

Beer Quarry Caves

In East Devon, the manmade caves of Beer, a town to the east of Sidmouth, are all that remain of the quarrying that took place here over the course of a 2000-year period. Beer stone was popular during the middle ages for building work on churches and cathedrals. The impressive limestone caverns are now a tourist attraction and open for guided tours during the high season. Take a look at the website.

How to visit

We are lucky enough to have an incredible collection of properties on or close to the Jurassic Coast. With a range of shapes, styles and sizes in our portfolio you are guaranteed to find that perfect little bolthole for your coastal getaway.  

Why not take a look at our collection of properties in East Devon and in Dorset to start planning your next break?

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Luci Ackers
Author: Luci Ackers

Luci loves getting out and about for a good cycle ride or easy-going walks in the countryside, and thoroughly enjoyed the time she previously spent working for the National Trust. Her love of writing started from a young age and on rainy days nothing beats curling up in a secret corner with a good book.


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