Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English Channel coast of southern England.
stretches from Orcombe
Point near Exmouth in East
Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East
Dorset, a distance of .Chartered in 2001, the
Jurassic coast was the second wholly-natural World Heritage Site to
be designated in the United Kingdom.
Its entire length can be walked on the
South West Coast Path
Location within the United
The Jurassic Coast consists of Triassic
cliffs, spanning the Mesozoic
Era, documenting 180 million years of
shows excellent examples of landforms, including the natural arch at Durdle Door, the cove and limestone folding at Lulworth Cove and an island, the Isle of Portland. Chesil Beach is a fine example of both a tombolo and a storm
The site has stretches of both concordant
coastlines. Due to the
quality of the varied geology, the site is the subject of
international field studies
. This area
was home to Mary Anning
, a palaeontologist
who studied the fossils of the
coastline around Lyme Regis and discovered the first complete
highest point on the Jurassic Coast, and on the entire south coast
of Britain, is Golden
Cap at .
Landslip near Lyme Regis
The Jurassic limestones on the Isle of
Portland have been extensively quarried.
The site was featured on the television programme Seven Natural Wonders
as one of the
wonders of the South West (of the UK), and in a 2005 poll
readers, the Jurassic Coast was named as the 5th
greatest natural wonder in Britain.
During World War II
several sections of
the Jurassic Coast became property of the Ministry of War
. One of the Royal Navy's largest bases was at Portland
Harbour, though it has since closed. A major army base at
Bovington remains in use today, and large areas of land,
including the coast between Lulworth Cove and Kimmeridge, including Tyneham ghost
village, are still only partially accessible. Areas of the coast
near Exmouth, The Fleet at Weymouth and the beaches at Studland have also been used for training for war, but have
since been returned to civilian use.
Stacks, such as Old Harry's Rocks at Handfast Point, are common
along the coast.
Parts of the coast, especially around Portland, can be dangerous,
and shipwrecks have been a feature of the coast. In January 2007 the
coast experienced its most environmentally damaging wreck when the
MSC Napoli, a 2,400 capacity container
ship, was beached at Branscombe near Sidmouth, losing oil and cargo.
On May 6 2008, a section of the coast was destroyed after a
that was described as the worst in
Bay forms a major gateway to the Jurassic Coast with
the completion in 2004 of the Jurassic Pier. Weymouth is also a major gateway town, near the centre of
the world heritage site.
A World Heritage Coast Centre is to
be built in the town by 2011.
Other gateway towns include:
- BBC News, 2007. Stricken cargo ship run aground.
- BBC News, 2008. Landslip is 'worst in 100 years'.