I just love the Jurassic Coastline in Dorset and East Devon it is England’s first natural World Heritage Site. It is a unique stretch of coastline which sits amongst the ranks of the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon as one of the wonders of the natural world!
The site was granted its status for its outstanding geology, which represents 185 million years of earth history in just 95 miles, covering from Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks at Studland Bay on the Dorset coast. Over the many years that I have visited I have walked much of this coastline now though I am going to start photographing it too.
Whilst visiting this time we walked from Burton Bradstock to West Bay along the beach and then back along the cliffs. Burton Bradstock acts as one of the main gateways to the Jurassic Coast and the South West Coastal Path. Hive Beach and the famous Hive Beach Cafe (if you like fish or ice-creams it is a wonderful place to have a rest), is a hugely popular family destination, made up of shingle, surrounded by spectacular sandstone cliffs. It forms part of the larger Chesil Beach; which is the largest shingle ridge in the world. Burton Cliffs offer one of the finest examples of the distinctive, alternate hard and soft layered geology of this Bridport Sands area, which make it appear to glow bright gold in the sunlight.
Regular rock falls (the last of which was at the end of February) often expose some important and fascinating fossils, such as ammonites, recognised by their ribbed spiral-formed shell, my kids have found a few ammonites and sharks teeth here during our many visits, although the best ones and most well preserved can be found at Charmouth. (They just love the kids playground at West Bay after the long walk too!).
There is a faultline at Hive Beach and the cliffs to the east of the fault change to the grey cliffs made up of clay and Fullers Earth. Burton Cliff though is similar to East Cliff at West Bay and the central part the Bridport Sands are topped by Inferior Oolite which is capped with a layer of Fuller’s Earth. The beach at Burton Bradstock is near the western end of the Chesil Beach and is made up of fine shingle. There has though been substantial loss of beach at Burton Cliffs as the fine shingle is moved from west to east by the long shore drift as a result of the prevailing south westerly winds and tides. Unfortunately and renewal of the beach shingle from the west is prevented by the harbour piers at West Bay, Bridport.
The coastal sea level of central southern England is rising at an increased rate and in general the low water mark is moving higher inland causing beach narrowing or beach steepening. Because of this, there is no longer the large quantity of fine shingle that there used to be in front of Burton Cliff.
Geologists think that over time the beach at Burton Cliff will eventually disappear and it will therefore become a rocky coast with the sea breaking onto the cliffs.
All of the photos above and the one below were edited in Lightroom and I then added my watermark in Photoshop Elements 8.
Pure enjoyment after a long walk, a delicious ice-cream, what more could a young boy want!
If you have visited any part of this gorgeous coastline let me know, I would love to hear where you feel is the most beautiful, has the best walks etc?
LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE – enjoying and recording the everyday moments of life.