The Lulworth area on the Isle of Purbeck is managed by the Lulworth Estate. There are several places well worth visiting if you're in this part of Dorset including Lulworth Castle, Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. The Estate is crossed by several public footpaths and you can find leaflets detailing self-guided walks from Lulworth Heritage Centre and Lulworth Castle.
Lulworth Cove is hugely popular and receives around 500,000 visitors every year! The attraction is the beautiful blue lagoon-like bay formed naturally in the shape of a horseshoe through rock formations that tell the earth's story over millions of years. Durdle Door is just along the coast to the east and is another spectacular rock formation hewn from the rock by the sea's forces. The coast can be walked via the South West Coast Path and there are several permissive paths and steps down to the beaches at various intervals.
Lulworth is famous the world over for its crescent shaped bay formed naturally around 10,000 years ago. The picturesque bay with its clear blue waters attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The beach is a thin shingle one, but as it's sheltered from the full force of the winds it makes a very pleasant place to while away the hours with a picnic or for the more adventurous a quick dip or a spot of snorkelling.
Head up the cliff paths for the best views of Lulworth Cove and you'll also see some interesting rock formations where the Lulworth Crumple shows how the layers of rocks have slumped to look like a rhinoceros hide. Arches are being formed in the rock at Stair Hole. In a few hundred thousand years or so the newish bay being formed at Stair Hole will erode back and merge in with Lulworth Cove.
Coastal walks lead out from Lulworth over the cliffs to the east and west. The land to the east is MOD land and can be inaccessible when they're firing. Heading east via the steps at the east end of the beach, a fantastic clifftop walk will take you to the Fossil Forest and ripples in the fossilised sand of an ancient beach and along to Mupe Bay. All along this coastline you'll find natural bays cut into the rock and interesting rock formations.
West Lulworth is also the location for the Lulworth Cove Heritage Centre where you can find out all about the varied geology of the Jurassic Coast.
There's a huge car parking area in the village to accommodate everyone who comes to see the stunning Lulworth Cove. Along with your car parking fee you can get a free guide from the Heritage Centre which has a range of displays and videos showing how the natural processes have shaped the coast and how the variety of different rocks have been formed over millions of years.
The Lulworth Ranger service is based at the Heritage Centre who not only look after the upkeep of the footpaths which is a continual battle against erosion but they lead guided walks and courses on the geology and ecology of the area.
The Centre is open 10am-6pm in summer and 10am-4pm in winter. Lulworth Cove Heritage Centre, Main Road, West Lulworth, Dorset, BH20 5QS. Tel: 01929 400587. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heading west From Lulworth Cove you can follow the coast path for two kilometres that'll bring you to Durdle Door. The main attraction is the limestone rock arch that sticks out into the sea. If you're interested in the geology this is another good place to see a huge range of rock types in a relatively short space including Portland limestone, chalk, greensand and sandstone. If you're not up to the walk, you can access a coast path down to Durdle Door via the Durdle Door car park which you'll find after driving through the Durdle Door Holiday Park. It is signposted from West Lulworth.
You can access the beach on the Durdle Door side or take the steps down to the beach at Man O'War bay. The steps are steep and can erode in places and the coast path can be a little slippy so make sure you take appropriate shoes. You'll need to take provisions with you too as there's only a refreshment kiosk for drinks, snacks and ice cream so if you want something healthier or more substantial take a picnic with you.
The high chalk cliffs heading west of Durdle Door make for a stunning section of the coast path and you can see how the sea has eroded the chalk into a stack at Bat's Head and Butter Rock.
Although the nearest B&B accommodation for Durdle Door is in West Lulworth, there is a caravan park and campsite at the top of the cliffs. The car park at Durdle Door is open between March-October but closed during the winter.
West Lulworth is the village that surrounds Lulworth Cove. The main car park for Lulworth Cove in the village brings a lot of people to West Lulworth so it's the logical place for the Lulworth Heritage Centre - a good starting point for your visit. A stroll down the hill brings you to Lulworth Cove and the coastal footpaths that take you west and east along Dorset's Heritage Coast.
You'll find plenty of cafes, restaurants, pubs and ice cream kiosks to keep you stocked up in West Lulworth. You can also pick up boat trips from Lulworth Cove or just laze around on the beach with the beautifully clear blue waters lapping on the shore.
East Lulworth is a small hamlet in the heart of the Purbeck countryside. Its a typically picturesque traditional Dorset village with several seventeenth century thatched cottages.
It's location makes a good base for exploring the Purbeck countryside with some fantastic views from the hills nearby. The coast isn't too far either and there are coast walks and easy access to Lulworth Cove and the Dorset coast path.