Jurassic Coast

Jurassic Coast

Coordinates: 50°42′20″N 2°59′23.6″W / 50.70556°N 2.989889°W / 50.70556; -2.989889

Dorset and East Devon Coast *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Gad Cliff to St Alban's Head
Country United Kingdom
Type Natural
Criteria viii
Reference 1029
Region ** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2001 (25th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO

The Jurassic Coast is a World Heritage Site on the English Channel coast of southern England. The site stretches from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks near Swanage in East Dorset, a distance of 153 kilometres (95 mi).[1] 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.[2]



Location within the United Kingdom

The Jurassic Coast consists of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous cliffs, spanning the Mesozoic Era, documenting 180 million years of geological history.

The site 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 (a deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such as a spit or bar) and a storm beach (a beach affected by particularly fierce waves). The site has stretches of both concordant and discordant 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 Ichthyosaur fossil.

The highest point on the Jurassic Coast, and on the entire south coast of Britain, is Golden Cap at 191 metres (627 ft).


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 of Radio Times 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.[3]

On May 6 2008, a 400-metre (1,312 ft) section of the coast was destroyed after a landslip that was described as the worst in 100 years.[4]

Localities and Locations

Gateway Towns

In addition to being ideal access points to the Jurassic Coast, Gateway Towns provide a complete range of services which support conservation and the management of the World Heritage Site. Each of the towns are destinations in their own respect.

Visitor Centres

Various Visitor Centres and Museums provide an additional concentration of information and interpretations on or of the Jurassic Coast, particularly from a local perspective. The following museums and heritage centres are recommended by the World Heritage Site Management:

  • Beer Quarry Caves
  • Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre
  • Chesil Beach Centre
  • Dorset County Museum, Dorchester
  • Dorset Wildlife Trust Fine Foundation Marine Centre, Kimmeridge
  • Durlston Country Park
  • Fairlynch Museum, Budleigh Salterton
  • Fine Foundation Centre, Beer
  • Lulworth Cove Heritage Centre
  • Philpot Museum, Lyme Regis
  • Portland Bill Visitor Centre
  • Portland Museum
  • Sidmouth Museum
  • Studland Visitor Centre, Knoll Beach
  • Swanage Heritage Centre

A World Heritage Coast Centre is to be built in Weymouth by 2011.[5]


To see the towns and localities along the coast from west to east see:

  • List of places on the Jurassic Coast

See also

The geoneedle is made from different rocks along the Jurassic Coast and marks its western end at Orcombe Point near Exmouth, Devon.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jurassic Coast — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Costa de Dorset y del este de Devon1 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jurassic Coast — Lage der Jurassic Coast in Großbritannien Felsbrück …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jurassic Coast — Littoral du Dorset et de l est du Devon Littoral du Dorset et de l est du Devon 1 Patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO Gad Cliff Latitude Longitude Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Liste der Orte entlang der Jurassic Coast — Die Geoneedle am Orcombe Point nahe Exmouth besteht aus verschiedenen Gesteinsarten, die entlang der Jurassic Coast zu finden sind. Eine Liste der Orte entlang der Jurassic Coast an der Südküste Englands, von Devon bis in die Grafschaft Dorset… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Jurassic Period — Interval of geologic time, 206–144 million years ago, that is one of the three major divisions of the Mesozoic Era, preceded by the Triassic Period and followed by the Cretaceous. During the Jurassic, Pangea began to break up into the present day …   Universalium

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