Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door on the coast of Dorset have been places I have wanted to visit for a while, and being relatively close (I live in North Devon, just over two hours’ drive away), I thought I should take the opportunity for a day out, especially with the glorious weather we have been enjoying!
The Jurassic Coast, where Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are, stretches 95 miles from East Devon to Dorset and is a World Heritage Site. Along the coast, there is 185 million years of geological history, and coastal erosion has exposed rock formations that date to the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The coastline has many incredible natural features, with Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door being some of the highlights.
Lulworth Cove is near West Lulworth and an amazing example of a cove. It was formed due to bands of rock with alternating resistance running parallel to the coast. On the seaward side, clay and side have been eroded, but Portland limestone and Purbeck limestone of less resistance are on the shoreline, with clays and greensands behind them. At the back of the cove is a chalk cliff, which helps give Lulworth Cove its striking look. The small pebble beach is white-grey from the chalk cliff, and the water is clear, blue and calm; perfect for swimming or water sports like paddleboarding and kayaking. The beach is steep – two steps in and the sea was coming up to my knees.
Near Lulworth Cove is Stair Hole, the formation of which indicates what the cove would have looked like a few hundred thousand years ago. The sea has made arches and blowholes in the limestone and begun to erode the clay. Stair Hole is one of the best examples of limestone folding in the world (Hartland Quay in North Devon is also a great example of sandstone folding), caused by movements in the Earth’s crust millions of years ago. Side note – geology rocks!
After eating lunch on the grass overlooking Lulworth Cove, I walked along the South West Coast Path over to Durdle Door, a natural limestone arch and very photogenic. The name ‘durdle’ comes from the Old English ‘thirl’, meaning bore or drill. The walk over the cliff was a little tiring, and my water bottle had become warm in the sun (temperature was about 26 degrees Celsius), but the views along the way were amazing.
Durdle Door is formed from Portland and Purbeck limestone that stands almost vertically out of the sea, with a thick band of resistant chalk behind it. The strip of land (or isthmus) that joins the limestone Durdle Door to the chalk cliffs is limestone and clay. On the east side of Durdle Door is Man O’ War Bay, a perfect spot for swimming.
As soon as I got to the beach at Durdle Door – again, small pebbles that were VERY hot and uncomfortable to walk on barefoot. I understood why many people were wearing trainers, as my sandals were pretty crap for walking on that beach, and felt sorry for any dogs – it was straight into the sea! Even though I live a 15-minute-drive from a beach, I haven’t actually gone in the sea properly this year. But damn, it was cold – though so refreshing in the sun! After a quick dip, it was time to lather myself in sun cream (being pale and gingery is not good in the sun) and read a book for a while. Though a small beach compared to those in North Devon, it was packed out and buzzing, and I could have stayed for hours.
After the walk back to the car park, I needed to treat myself to an ice cream from Jake’s; delicious, homemade and enormous ice creams. Peanut butter ice cream in a chocolate waffle cone – yum! And the pic below shows it about 3/4 of its original size!
I hope you enjoyed my quick recap of my day out to Dorset, and sorry about the geology info, but it really interests me! Feel free to leave a comment below – and have a read of my other day trips!