‘We are blessed to be able to live in this part of the world’

May 11, 2017




ROCK LEGEND: This is a panoramic view of the arch taken from above the cliff face. As can be seen, it was a sunny day on the April Bank Holiday and there must have been at least 2,000 people in the village of Lulworth of the course of the time we were there. Picture by Somesh Amarapinni.

HAPPY DAYS: Divyand myself enjoy the iconic view of Dorset’s foremost geological landmark. The outline in the distance  – if you can see it – is Portland Bill. This is part of the UNESCO world heritage coastline. UNESCO monitors the arch and the adjacent beach. Picture by Somesh Amarapinni.



JUNIOR PARTNER: The Man of War Bay features Portland and Purbeck limestone that has eroded way. The bits of rock sticking out in the bay have been given bovine names. It is second fiddle to the Durdle Door but has much to shout about. Man of Way Bay has a very clean beach.

DOWN TIME: In their very busy schedules, Somesh and Divy took time out to visit Durdle Door. Public transport is very limited when trying to reach the village of Lulworth, so we all went in one car.

HOMEWARD BOUND: This is a view looking towards the village on the walk back from the arch. It takes about an hour to get there and another to return. In the distance is the cove and the village of Lulworth backing on it. Some properties on the right side of this shot would be worth a few bob.



SPRING brought out the biggest number of visitors that I can recall when visiting Dorset’s most significant geological landmark.

Somesh and Divy, who work locally as contractors and are from India, were my travelling companions on a visit to Durdle Door, the Man of War Bay and West Lulworth on the first Bank Holiday of the year and it was absolutely heaving. At a conservative estimate, there must have been around 2,000 people going up and down the heavily used path during the course of the day.

Durdle Door is part of World Heritage site

Durdle Door is the well-known limestone arch on the UNESCO Jurassic coastal path that lies within the Lulworth estate, owned by the Weld family. The price of car parking goes towards the upkeep of the landmark.

The form of coastline where the arch lies is controlled by its geology, its contrasting hardness of the rocks and the local patterns of the faults and folds.

Much of the limestone has been removed by coastal sea erosion, whilst the remainder forms the small headland which includes the arch. UNESCO monitors the status of the arch and its adjacent beach.

‘Don’t jump off the cliffs’

When you go down from the cliffs above down a rocky footpath to the beach there are clearly signs indicating that the cliffs are not there to be climbed and they are fenced off. Clearly this was not something that was going to get in the way of the following incident.

Back in 2010 a 75-year-old man “tombstoned” off the rock and landed badly in the water after misjudging its depth at its base. Tombstoning is the art of jumping off cliffs.

James Weld of the Lulworth Estate told the BBC at the time: “The hard limestone reef along the coast means there are a lot of rocks just under the water.”

The bay to the east of Durdle Door is called Man of War Bay. It has a band of Portland and Purbeck limestone that has not entirely eroded away and is visible above the waves as the Man of War Rocks. Off the shore to the west are a group of rocky islets called The Bull, the Blind Cow, the Cow and the Calf.

‘Durdle Door is film location’

The name in itself is said to be derived in the following way; the “Durdle” part of it refers to the Old English word “thirl” meaning to bore or drill and the “door” part of it refers to the arch part of the rock.

The landscape around Durdle Door has featured in prominent films such as Wilde, featuring Jeeves and Wooster and Blackadder regular Stephen Fry and Nanny McPhee, which starred Emma Thompson.

My travelling companions were lucky to have been out on such a sunny day and many others had the same idea and they got some extremely good pictures of these geological wonders in all their glory.

Drone footage shows power of creation

In conclusion this was brought to my attention by a Polish contact of mine and featured artist Seven Art, who has also been profiled on this site. This captures the atmosphere of this place with the music and shows the power of creation.

This footage was taken by a drone before rules were put in force to control the use of them on the landmark but I would argue this is a brilliant piece of marketing for Dorset. It was produced by DJ Phantom II.

Speaking on the footage, local Sam Chaffey says this: “I was blessed to be born and raised here and have so many happy memories. You should sell it to the Dorset tourist board.”

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