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Lulworth Cove and the Fossil Forest
Author: Claire, Published: 07 Jul 2011 Rating :

Dorset, Lulworth
Walk Type: Coastal

Length: 2 miles,  Difficulty:
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A 2 mile circular walk from Lulworth Cove taking in two of the most important features of the Dorset Jurassic Coast, Lulworth Cove and the Fossil Forest. The walk is short but has steep climbs and one steep scramble down the rocks to reach the beach at Lulworth Cove. Please note that access to the Fossil Forest is through Ministry of Defence land (Bindon Hill firing range) which is closed when live firing is taking place, so check with the Lulworth Cove Heritage Centre for opening times if you would like to visit the Forest. Without the extension to the Fossil Forest the rest of the walk is accessible at all times. The return route follows the beach around Lulworth Cove, so it is best to stay clear of high tide if you want to avoid getting wet feet. Lulworth Cove is very busy with tourists at peak times so if you prefer quiet walking avoid weekends and school holiday periods.

Parking is available at the Lulworth Cove Heritage Centre pay and display car park (signed from West Lulworth). Approximate post code BH20 5RH.

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Walk Sections

Up to Bindon Hill

Start point: 50.6196 lat, -2.2536 long
End point: 50.6215 lat, -2.2431 long

Leave the car park and turn left along the main road (B3070) back towards West Lulworth. You can walk along the raised path with the road on your left to avoid the traffic. Turn right into Bindon Road and then after about 100 metres turn right again through a gate signposted with a footpath sign.

Do not take the path alongside the fence towards the sea, but instead follow the path going slightly to the left and steeply uphill. Continue to climb to the left until you reach the ridge top and the entrance to the Bindon Hill Ministry of Defence facility. (Red flags will be raised and all gates will be locked when live firing is taking place).

Down to the Fossil Forest

Start point: 50.6215 lat, -2.2431 long
End point: 50.6168 lat, -2.2425 long

Turn right to follow the edge of the Ministry of Defence facility (with the fence on you left) as it goes steeply down a long set of steps towards the sea. Follow these steps all the way down towards Lulworth Cove and then turn left at the stone marker post which signs Fossil Forest to the left. Follow this path to the right over a small wooden bridge through trees and up again onto the ridge by the sea. If the Bindon Hill facility is open and you wish to visit the Fossil Forest, turn left along the ridge and pass through the gates to Bindon Hill following the signs to the Fossil Forest.

The Fossil Forest can be seen either from the cliff edge or by descending the steps if they are open. Approximately 130million years ago the area was covered by tropical swamps and the vegetation was dominated by large fern-like trees. The Fossil Forest is the preserved remains of the forest and takes the form of a number of ring shaped structures (up to 2 metres across) on a wide ledge on the cliff. It is the most complete fossil record of a Jurassic forest in the world.

Lulworth Cove

Start point: 50.6168 lat, -2.2425 long
End point: 50.6187 lat, -2.2498 long

Return along the cliff ridge to the edge of Lulworth Cove. Take care here as erosion has caused some sections of path to be diverted so follow the signs. Follow the steep path on your right to scramble down the rocks to access the beach below (alternatively retrace your steps back over the wooden bridge to access the beach via the steps). Follow the beach all the way round the cove to the slipway. Lulworth Cove is a world famous horse-shoe shaped beach and is one of the world’s finest examples of such a landform. Take care not to walk too close to the cliffs as falls of chalk can occur.

Back to the Heritage Centre

Start point: 50.6187 lat, -2.2498 long
End point: 50.6198 lat, -2.2532 long

Leave the beach via the concrete slipway and follow the road back up through the various shops and tea rooms before emerging at the Heritage Centre and the car park.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2011 by the author Claire and may not be reproduced without permission.

2 images to "Lulworth Cove and the Fossil Forest "

Image by: jsctt59
Uploaded: 17 Apr 2017

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The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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