Dorset…a Jurassic Coastline


After many years it was nice to revisit this dramatic stretch of Dorset’s Coastline. Despite having visited on numerous occasions we still found lots of new places and points of interest.

The Coastline stretches between various seaside resorts but it is the bits in-between that intrigue the most.  They are all linked by a long-distance coastal path which separates the headlands and beaches from some very rich agricultural land an area of mixed farming, cereal, cattle, sheep and dairy. Just a little way inland a Ridgeway Trail also adds another dimension for walkers

Overlooking the English Chanel it is also an area that has seen its share of turmoil and was definitely on the front line of defences right up to WWII. Coastguard Cottages dot the headland as do lookout points…but perhaps the best lookout point was from the strategically located Corfe Castle  which gives great views in all compass direction. Little villages and small churches abound, one of our favourites being Kimmeridge (where we feature the old church of St. Nicholas, of Norman foundation with additions at various times over the centuries).  The headland of course is the big draw for visitors.  It is at time dramatic, perhaps the most dramatic and also well visited being the Limestone Arch of Durdle Door. Elsewhere more mellow features can be enjoyed, but as you walk along the coastal path it continually offers new vistas.

So here is a whistle stop tour….


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The Jurassic Connection

This whole coastline is subject to much weathering and obvious erosion.  Each storm makes changes.  The rock is a mix of shales and Purbeck Limestone and within it can be found remains of sea creatures long extinct.  Fossils are easily spotted in places where the cliffs have collapsed.  But one man, Dr. Steve Etches, has made it is lifetime career searching for fossils and has many great ‘monster’ finds to his credit. A new visitor attraction has been opened at Kimmeridge to house much of his collection and also allows you to see his workshop and tasks currently in progress… It is called “The Etches Collection’ and well worth a visit


That may be the professional collection but you to can make your own discoveries even if they may be on a more modest scale…



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23 July

(C) David Oakes 2018