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Unusual and unspoilt beach on Dorset's Isle of Purbeck.

Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset BH20 5PE 01929 481 044

We say

We’ve no doubt that rock-pooling is a pastime pursued with gusto all over the world, but there’s something about the British coastline that lends itself to this peculiarly absorbing activity, and there is perhaps nowhere better to do it than one of our favourite places on the Dorset coast, Kimmeridge Bay, just outside Wareham on the Isle of Purbeck, the bay is actually part of a private estate, and this is maybe why it has remained so unspoilt. Little more than a cluster of fisherman’s houses facing a crescent bay, the beach is great for a picnic, a spot of beachcombing, or, most famously, as the favourite haunt of people drawn here by the abundance of fossils that can be found here in the flakey stripes of clay and shale that form the cliffs. You won’t need your bucket and spade, but a tiny hammer to break open the layers of stone is handy, and on any given day you will see a lot of people doing just that;  indeed search with enough dedication and it’s hard to leave Kimmeridge without finding at least something. The waters here are also rich in marine life and form part of the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve (there is an informative Marine Centre at one side of the bay detailing marine life), and the unusually smooth rock that gently slopes out into the sea make it possible to wade out quite a way. There are also fine coastal walks in either direction – head east and you pass the distinctive Clavell Tower, a Victorian folly now available for holiday lets through the Landmark Trust.

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Marine Centre April–Sept Tues–Sun 10.30am–5pm, Oct–March Sun noon–4pm

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