The Jurassic Coast, Devon and Dorset
The Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site stretches over 96 miles from East Devon to Dorset; it was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status because of the unique rocks, fossils and landforms found along its route, so, definitely one for the fossil hunters – and for the walkers too as the South West Coast Path takes in the entire Jurassic Coast. The scenery is breathtaking, of secluded coves and quiet beaches, busy seafronts, soaring clifftops and rolling hills.
Not far from the starting point in East Devon are Exmouth and Sidmouth, both excellent for family days out by the sea and for watersports enthusiasts. Futher along the coast are the peaceful villages of Branscombe and Beer, both are charming and have a timeless air about them. At Branscombe you can visit The Old Forge and stop for a bite to eat at The Sea Shanty Beach Cafe; at Beer there’s Pecorama with its model trains, or Beer Quarry Caves where stone was hauled for the building of some of England’s finest cathedrals. If you go to Seaton you can take a tram ride along the wetlands; if you like a good walk the 7.5 mile Undercliff from Axmouth to Lyme Regis just over the border in Dorset, is incredible. Stroll along the historic harbour at Lyme, to the Marine Aquarium at the end, or take the kids to Dinosaurland Fossil Museum back in town.
Join a guided fossil hunt at Charmouth, or walk up the cliff to Golden Cap, the highest point on the South coast of England; enjoy lunch at the Hive Beach Café at Burton Bradstock, walk the dog on Cogden Beach. Then it’s on, on, on, along the long shingle ridge of Chesil Beach to the ruggedly beautiful Isle of Portland and its narrow promontory, Portland Bill, then round to Weymouth, buzzing with holiday makers in the summer.
At last you reach the breathtaking landscapes of Durdle Door with its natural limestone arch and secluded and picturesque, Lulworth Cove. Right at the end of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site are Old Harry Rocks near Swanage, towering chalk cliffs topped by lush green downlands, and stacks standing in the sea. Words don’t do the Jurassic Coast the justice it deserves, so if you’re down in the West Country on your large group holidays, at least go and see part of it.
All information correct at the time of writing