Travel a short distance outside Weymouth and you really will appreciate that we are in the heart of the Jurassic coast, a beautiful coastline stretching from East Devon to Dorset. A ride along the coast will reveal some stunning, breathtaking views. Here are just some ideas of places to visit and things to do.
Lulworth Cover and Durdle Door are two of the best known features of Dorset's Jurassic Coast. Both are natural and spectacular and are a major tourist attraction especially in the summer months. Lulworth Cove was formed by a combination of erosional processes, wave action and the processes of weathering, on bands of soft and more resistant rock.
There is a visitor centre at Lulworth which gives plenty of interesting information about the cove, together with a gift shop. There is also a Pub and a wide variety of places for refreshments. When parking at Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door, the tickets are transferable between both and also cover you for the carpark at Lulworth Castle.
There is also a wealth of walking in this area, and it is possible to walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door, it is a steep but very well maintained path, a tough walk rather than a gentle stroll but well worth the trouble for the spectacular views. Or if you prefer A motor boat service from the beach will take you on a trip to Durdle Door or Mupe Bay by sea, from where you will see 185 million years of history you might also get chance to enjoy the sights of some coastal wildlife.
Trips run from Easter onwards and are suitable for all the family, they are run by RIB Rides.
Recently the beach at Lulworth was used as a filming location in the movie ‘Fury’ starring Brad Pitt
Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth. It is an amazing natural beauty spot. It’s possible to view the arch from the cliffs above or even venture down on to the beach. It is however quite a steep and at times slippery path, so it is necessary to go prepared. There are no facilities at the beach except for an ice cream van which stops at the very top near the car park in the high season.
The impressive natural arch of Durdle Door formed due to the effect of the erosive power of the sea on the vertical layers of different types of rock.
The landscape around Durdle Door has been used in scenes in several films, including Wilde (1997) starring Stephen Fry, Nanny McPhee starring Emma Thompson, and the 1967 production of Far From The Madding Crowd (the latter also filmed around nearby Scratchy Bottom.
Chesil Beach is a pebble beach 18 miles long, and stretches north-west from Portland to West Bay. You can get an amazing ariel view of this spectacular feature from the top of Portland near The Heights Hotel. If you would like to take a closer look there is a visitor’s centre located at the southern end of the fleet lagoon on the Ferry bridge car park, on the causeway between Weymouth and Portland. The visitors centre has friendly, knowledgeable staff who will be happy to tell you more and answer your questions. You can also explore Chesil Beach yourself although you probably won’t want to walk the whole 18 miles as its quite tough on the legs. If you prefer to explore by boat then the Fleet Observer operates close by from the Jetty behind the Ferry Bridge Inn. It sails Daily Easter to September, the guides are local volunteers who will be happy to share their vast knowledge with you. The Chesil Beach centre is open daily except for Christmas and New Year.
There are many Myths about how Chesil Beach was formed and one being that it was thrown up in a single night after violent storms; it’s more likely that it was as a result of longshore drift from cliff falls further along the coast but there is much debate around it.
The fleet lagoon is home to many marine and animal species, some rare, so whether you’re interested in wildlife, Geography, tales of smuggling and shipwrecks or just want to enjoy the beauty there is plenty to enjoy here.
The beach provides shelter from the prevailing winds and waves for the town of Weymouth.
The beach has been the scene of many shipwrecks and was named by Thomas Hardy as ‘Dead man’s Bay’
There’s such a wide choice of activities to try at Moors Valley, you won’t be able to fit it all into one visit. There are Forest walks, cycling trails, cycles hire, forest segways, a narrow gauge steam train or if you’re feeling adventurous you can try the Go Ape Tree Top Adventure. There are lots of special events to look out for too.
Moors valley is a joint venture between East Dorset Council and the Forestry Commission providing countryside recreation and facilities for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy as well as providing opportunities for people to experience and learn about wildlife and environmental issues.The Rangers organise and run a whole range of activities to help you enjoy Moors Valley and the local countryside.
There is also a friendly visitors centre, and a restaurant serving a wide choice of refreshment.
Opens every day except Christmas Day.
At Monkey World you will find over 250 monkeys from 20 different species. As you walk around you can read all about the stories of the monkeys who have been rescued and appreciate the work that this centre does. At monkey world you really get the feeling that the priorty is to give these monkeys a safe secure home, rather than provide a ‘zoo’ type environment. They do amazing work.
Originally set up by Jim Cronin in 1987, providing homes for abused Spanish chimps used in the tourist trade with a home. Today Monkey World works in conjunction with foreign governments from all over the world to stop the illegal smuggling of Apes.
You can enjoy exploring the park or find out more by taking one of the guided tours.
Open daily except Christmas day.