Highlight: The Lulworth Ranges

Mupe rocks, beneath the Lulworth Ranges near Lulworth Cove
Mupe rocks, beneath the Lulworth Ranges near Lulworth Cove

Between Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge Bay is a stretch of coastline that is all but abandoned. It was emptied of people by the Ministry of Defence during the Second World War and used as a tank training range. The British Army still own and operate the ranges and tanks and armoured vehicles continue to take part in live firing practice.

The obvious dangers keep access restricted, and the permitted paths through the ranges are only open at set times. Within these circumstances of strict regulation and explosive military activity the coastline of the ranges has become something very special. For over 60 years the area has been protected from development and is perhaps the most open and natural stretch on the Jurassic Coast. The high downs offer spectacular views over tranquil Warbarrow bay and east across Purbeck. The rich grassland is home to rare butterflies and is a hunting ground for birds of prey.

At the heart of the ranges lies the derelict village of Tyneham. Its residents agreed to leave when the MOD took possession of the land, but were never allowed to return. The Lulworth Ranges, empty and yet so full, are a rare chance to see a piece of England frozen in time.

Find out more about Lulworth Range walks and Tyneham Village opening times.