Author: Guy Kerr

The Jurassic Coast Trust has just started on a new and exciting stage in its development having recently taken on the responsibility for looking after the Dorset and East Devon Coast World Heritage Site.

Known to one and all as the Jurassic Coast, the Site stretches from Studland Bay in Dorset to Orcombe Point in Exmouth, East Devon and is England’s only natural World Heritage Site.  Since being given this accolade by the UN’s Scientific, Cultural and Educational body UNESCO in 2001, leadership and management of the Site has been by Dorset and Devon County Councils, coordinated through a small team hosted in County Hall in Dorchester.


This 16-year period has seen the Site maintained in great condition, the growth of a national and international brand, the redevelopment of existing and creation of new visitor centres and museums, and the delivery of a huge range of educational activities, all relating to the Jurassic Coast.

The Trust is an independent charity that aims to make the Jurassic Coast a even more meaningful and inspiring part of people’s lives and it is already supported by a range of local businesses and local Ambassadors who get behind its passionate commitment to the Coast.

Alex O’Dwyer, Vice Chair of the Jurassic Coast Trust, says, “The Jurassic Coast Trust is thrilled to be taking on responsibility for the management of this extraordinary World Heritage Site. Our work over the last few years, alongside the County Councils, has been to build an understanding of the coast and engage people in it so that they will care for it and cherish it.”

Hilary Cox, Chairman of Dorset County Council, said: “The Jurassic Coast has done great things for the communities of, and visitors to, Dorset and East Devon for many years and we look forward to supporting the Trust to grow and expand on our achievements.”

Stuart Hughes, Cabinet Member for Highways Management at Devon County Council, added: “We value the benefits that cross-border working has brought to both Devon and Dorset, and we are excited about taking the Jurassic Coast to the next stage under the Trust’s leadership.”

The Trust will be working coast-wide from its new base in Bridport. One of its early highlights is the collaboration with the Dorset County Museum in Dorchester to bring ‘Dippy’, the Natural History Museum’s iconic Diplodocus skeleton, to the Jurassic Coast.   You can find out more about this and the work of the Trust on this website.

Background to the transition

The last five or more years have seen increasing pressures placed on public sector funding. This was happening alongside the growth of the Jurassic Coast Trust, which has built strong community networks and successfully raised funds and support for the World Heritage Site from a range of sources, including local businesses.

The decision was made more than two years ago to investigate whether the long-term sustainability of the Site’s management would be more effectively achieved outside of the Local Authority structure, and that process has now been completed with the transition of the role to the charity happening over the summer.

The County Councils remain committed to the good management of the coast and are supporting the JCT through grant funding to deliver a core range of functions. The JCT will now seek to attract new resources to help the Jurassic Coast to capitalize on the benefits of World Heritage status.

The Trust has been putting plans in place for this change for a long time, but now that it is the official management body for the Site, it can really start to move forward.

The Trust’s new Vision is that everyone loves, understands and values the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Its Mission is to enable everyone to have the best possible experience of the Jurassic Coast, whether they want to learn, enjoy, work or study.

To achieve this, the Trust’s new Aims are to protect the World Heritage Site, to engage people with it, to deepen their understanding of and involvement with it, and to be sustainable in all that it does.

Part of the transition process has been generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.   

More information and contact details

Contact Jurassic Coast Trust Chief Executive Sam Rose: 01308 800349 or one of the team on 01308 807000. For more press information go to

Find Out More about the Jurassic Coast Trust and Our Work

Support the Jurassic Coast Trust by Making a Donation, Volunteering or Becoming a Business Partner

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