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'.
Durlston and Swanage Bay – discord in the rocks
Two very different bays sit side by side where the coast cuts across different rock types.
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
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.
Durdle Door – the rock arch
Durdle Door, a huge natural rock arc, is an internationally famous landmark and one of the most characteristic and spectacular features along the Jurassic Coast.
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.
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.
Lyme Regis to Golden Cap – soft stuff
The largest active landslides in Europe and the nations best soft cliff habitat.
The Undercliffs National Nature Reserve
Vast landslides have created a wild and rugged landscape, rich in diverse wildlife and habitats.
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!
Budleigh Salterton Beach – Pebbles from the past
A unique beach made from pebbles buried for millions of years.
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)