Old Harry Rocks
Location: Handfast Point, near Studland
Landform type: Chalk
Age: 10,000 – 20,000 years old
Where to go: you can walk to the Handfast Point from Studland, or, for a longer and more challenging route, from Swanage. Alternatively you can take the scenic 11km hike along the spectacular Chalk Ridge from Corfe to the coast.
Look out for: On a clear day it is easy to see the Isle of Wight!
Old Harry's fate
The string of sea stacks that trail out onto the sea off the point here formed after the last age. At some point in the last 20,000 years the sea breached the chalk ridge that would have stretched across to the Isle of Wight. It probably did this by flooding up river channels that had cut down through the chalk. Once this natural barrier was breached the land behind was submerged, creating the Solent. The chalk was slowly stripped back to create the coastline we see now. Sea stacks like Old Harry form when slightly harder areas of rock resist erosion whilst everything else around them is worn away. Eventually these stacks will collapse (Old Harry once had a wife, who is sadly no more) but new ones will replace them. Ongoing erosion like this is the main reason the coast is so beautiful.