The south coast doesn’t get more Jurassic than this!
Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are a popular destination for fossil hunters, hikers and photographers wanting to take some incredible images. There’s many ways to discover the area including walking, cycling and coasteering so whether you want to see them from land or sea, be sure to plan a whole day – you’re going to need it. Lulworth Cove is just over a half an hour drive from Ulwell and the route is stunning. Head past Corfe Castle and past the nature reserves of Wareham to reach your final destination.
What’s there to see?
The cove itself provides a breathtaking white pebble beach and when low tide hits it unveils a treasure trove of rock pools that are ideal for wildlife spotting and crabbing. A steep walk up the side of the cove and you’ll be able to see the most famous rock arch in the world. Durdle Door is a naturally occurring phenomenon that was created in the chalk cliffs around 10,000 years ago and is very impressive.
For those who want to really feel immersed in the area, you’ll want to book a field session with the Lulworth Rangers. Based in the visitor centre, these folk know everything there is to know about the area and can probably let you into some of its best kept secrets.
What is there to do?
Aside from keeping your eyes peeled for fossils, there’s plenty to do at Lulworth Cove, including boat trips in the summer. These give you a different view of the cove and of course, the stunning stone arch of Durdle Door. Take the natural coastal path up and round to catch the views of Durdle Door and head down on to the beach to get a closer look. On a sunny day it provides the most incredible images and there’s even been dolphins seen nearby.
For those that want to get to know the history of the area, the Heritage Centre should be your first stop. Open between 10am and 5pm it’s free of charge and conveniently located next to the car park. You’ll be able to get information about the unique geology as well as the types of flora and fauna you might catch glimpses of. Take the time to browse the displays and watch the two short films too – you’ll be able to see how the site was formed and how it looks during stormy weather.
Why not try to see if you can tell where different films and tv shows have used the site in their shoots – Nanny McPhee, World War Z and even an episode of Doctor Who have all used the stunning scenery as a backdrop for some fantastic actors.
Need to refuel?
After the hike you’ll most likely need to take a breather and enjoy some food and drink and you’re in luck because there is a place to suit everyone. From the rustic, yet authentic The Boat Shed, to The Coffee Bar and even the quaintly-named The Dolls House, the cove does not disappoint. Homemade food is popular and if you’ve got a sweet-tooth then be sure to pick up some homemade fudge or traditional sweets for the journey home.
How accessible are they?
Lulworth Cove can get busy during the summer so if you’re visiting between May and September it might be best to walk, cycle or hop onto public transport. There are parking spaces available, but it’s best to be the early bird if you want to get a spot. There is a fee for parking, however to gain access to the cove or walk up and round to Durdle Door it’s free.
Baby changing facilities and disabled toilets can be found by the car park at the Heritage Centre. Unfortunately there is no wheelchair or pushchair accessibility down to Durdle Door
Dogs are welcome on the beach, however they need to be kept to the left hand side of the slipway leading down to the cove.