West Lulworth

The view across sheltered Lulworth Cove
The view across sheltered Lulworth Cove. Photo: Mark Simons

Some of the most iconic sites on the Jurassic Coast can be found near the village of West Lulworth, which lies on the Isle of Purbeck. Spectacular Lulworth Cove, a short walk from the village, is a beautiful crescent shape, bordered by a pebble beach, with a backdrop of dramatically-crumpled Jurassic rock strata. The Cove is a popular area for snorkelling and diving.

The excellent Heritage Centre is well worth a visit, with exhibits and hands-on activities explaining how this beautiful section of coastline has evolved over millions of years. It also details the diverse range of wildlife in the area, including the Lulworth Skipper butterfly, first discovered here in 1832.

A short (but steep!) walk along the coastal path west of Lulworth Cove lies the unmistakable limestone arch of Durdle Door. The walk is well worth the effort as you’re rewarded with some of the most outstanding views anywhere on the coast. From the cliff top you can take the steps down to the sheltered sand and shingle beach.

The unmistakable limestone arch of Durdle Door
The iconic limestone arch of Durdle Door. Photo: Visit Dorset

East of Lulworth Cove is the remarkable Fossil Forest. Here you’re transported back 135 million years, where the remains of algae and mud that collected around tree stumps have been fossilised to form doughnut shaped structures known as ‘burrs’. Update: Fossil Forest access closed due to cliff fall.

Getting there

  • Bus services run from Dorchester and Wool to Lulworth.
  • The nearest railway station is Wool, five miles north of Lulworth.
  • Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are signposted from the A352 Dorchester to Wareham road.

Need to know

Access to the Fossil Forest is through MoD land which is closed when they are firing. It is open most weekends – visit dorsetforyou for a list of opening times. Update: Fossil Forest access closed due to cliff fall.