Geology, landslips, military ranges & oil country
This page outlines the coastal walk between Lulworth Cove and Chapman's Pool - stage of the South West Coast Path. It is also part of the eastern section of England's only natural World Heritage Site - the Jurassic Coast.
30 May 2014 Lulworth Cove - the starting point - also for a selection of images from the walk.
Description of the stage
This is a spectacular stage and was well worth the wait until the military ranges were open and the section east of Kimmeridge was reopened due to a landslip in 2013. Bus services to Lulworth Cove were reduced in early 2014. The only difficulty on the day was the time required to take in the scenery.
The path follows the Dorset Purbeck coast with the western within the military ranges - which are open most weekends and school holiday. Walking the diversion is not an option- although there is currently a short diversion at Lulworth Cove itself - either into West Lulworth village or the beach at the back of the cove (at low water).
The walk is also a geological walk through history with a white chalk ridge to climb twice and then the black lands of Kimmeridge and beyond. Here oil wells are visible and relics from ancient oil extraction methods at Clavell's hard and Rope Lake Head. If this is of interest there is much more on Ian West's web pages (see references below).
On Rings Hill the path crosses the iron Age hillfort of Flower's Hill with concentric banks several metres high. The south side of the fort is slipping into the sea as are several sections of this coast. Houns Tout is the last hill - but on a good day it has some rewarding views of Chapman's Pool and St Aldhelm's Head.
The walk is hilly with four ascents of 120-150m to make with 40%+ gradients on each. This tops out at 850m of climbing, which is a similar height gain as Snowdon from Pen y pass.
Places along the stage
|Stage terminus:||Lulworth Cove||12m turning circle/bus stop|
|Passage point:||Bindon Hill||140m|
|Passage point:||Arish Mell||5m|
|Passage point:||Rings Hill||Flower's Barrow 166m|
|Passage point:||Golden Down||150m|
|Passage point:||Kimmeridge Bay||Oil field|
|Passage point:||Clavell's Hard||19thC oil mining area|
|Passage point:||Rope Lake Head|
|Passage point:||Houns Tout||149m|
|Stage terminus:||Chapman's Pool||path junction 59m|
|Total ascent:||850||[m amsl]|
|Total descent:||804||[m amsl]|
|Lowest point:||2||sea level [m amsl]|
|Highest point:||166||Rings Hill [m amsl]|
|Date walked||Who||Walking time hr||Av. speed kmh||Stoppage hr||Direction|
|30 May 2014||KJM, HMM||5.0 hours||3.9||1.3hr||west to east|
Points of Interest
Getting there & back
For this stage we caught the 104 Dorset Community bus to Lulworth Cove from the "Red Lion" stop in Wareham (a short walk from Wareham railway station - you can also get on the 104 at Wool railway station). There are only two buses a day and you need to be on the first - which should get into Lulworth Cove just before 11:00.
For the return journey we caught the 40 Purbeck Breezer bus into Swanage for an evening meal in The Ship. From here the 50 took us to Bournemouth railway station via the Studland peninsula and the chain ferry across to Sandbanks
Start: 30 May 2014
End: 30 May 2014
References & Links:
|20140601||Jurassic Coast - leaflet|
|20140601||Ian West's Geology: Lulworth Cove introduction page|
|20140601||Ian West's Geology: Kimmeridge oil shale page|
|20140601||Isle of Purbeck [Wikipedia]|
Updated KJM 21 June 2014