The science of a beautiful landscape

The Dorset and East Devon Coast is well known to be very beautiful. The reason for that is in the relationship between the rocks and the sea.

A coastline takes shape through the sea and the weather pounding rocks and beaches over tens of thousands of years. The nature of a coastline depends on how the rocks and beaches react to the relentless energy from the sea and The Jurassic Coast has lots of different rocks that react in a wide variety of ways. The World Heritage Site is crammed with exceptional examples of natural coastal landforms of almost any kind imaginable. It is so rich in these features that scientists that study coastal landforms have described the World Heritage Site as an outdoor laboratory.

Scientists have spent years coming to study the landforms but many thousands of people come every year to enjoy the sheer beauty that all this variety creates.

Old Harry Rocks

This is the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast and where the youngest rocks on the world Heritage Site are exposed. Brilliant white chalk has been eroded into steep cliffs and the famous collection of sea stacks known as 'Old Harry Rocks'.

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Durlston and Swanage Bay – discord in the rocks

Two very different bays sit side by side where the coast cuts across different rock types.

Read more: Durlston and Swanage Bay – discord in the rocks

Durlston cliffs – the pounding sea

The hard, sheer, limestone cliffs on the southern side of Durlston Country Park make a perfect nesting ground for sea birds

Read more: Durlston cliffs – the pounding sea

Lulworth Cove and Stair Hole – picture postcard science

Lulworth Cove is a popular place to study the formation of bays and headlands. This picturesque little cove has attracted visitors for hundreds of years.

Read more: Lulworth Cove and Stair Hole – picture postcard science

Durdle Door – The Rock Arch

Durdle Door, a huge natural rock arch, is an internationally famous landmark and one of the most characteristic and spectacular features along the Jurassic Coast.

Read more: Durdle Door – The Rock Arch

Chesil Beach – the finest barrier beach in Europe

Chesil Bank is an enormous continuous beach that stretches 17 miles from Portland to West Bay. It formed at the end of the last ice age from stones brought down in landslides.

Read more: Chesil Beach – the finest barrier beach in Europe

Golden Cap – highest point on the South Coast

Golden Cap is the highest point on the south coast and gives a fantastic viewpoint of this western part of the World Heritage Site.

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Lyme Regis to Golden Cap – soft stuff

The largest active landslides in Europe and the nations best soft cliff habitat.

Read more: Lyme Regis to Golden Cap – soft stuff

The Undercliffs National Nature Reserve

Vast landslides have created a wild and rugged landscape, rich in diverse wildlife and habitats.

Read more: The Undercliffs National Nature Reserve

Hooken Landslide

A dramatic chalk landslide from 1789. An exciting path winds its way through the crags, towering pinnacles and imposing cliffs here – only for those not scared of heights!

Read more: Hooken Landslide

Budleigh Salterton Beach – Pebbles from the past

A unique beach made from pebbles buried for millions of years.

Read more: Budleigh Salterton Beach – Pebbles from the past

Ladram Bay

Ladram Bay is a picturesque beach characterised by several high sea stacks. It is one of the highlights of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)

Read more: Ladram Bay

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Dorset and East Devon's World Heritage Coast

 
 
 
 
  • Triassic250-200 million years old
  • Jurassic200-145 million years old
  • Cretaceous145-65 million years old