‘World Heritage coastal bay hosts most sought after holiday home’

September 23, 2018


MARINE HERITAGE: Kimmeridge Bay is half a mile south-west of the village of the same name via a toll road and is said to have the most import geology anywhere on the Jurassic Coast.

MAKING WAVES: The day this site visited Kimmeridge it was extremely windy and were ideal surfing conditions which professionals in wetsuits were exploiting for all their worth on the jetty next to the Wild Seas Centre.

LUXURY PAD: Anyone with deep pockets can stay at the Clavell Tower, originally restored by the Landmark Trust, for three or four-day stays to a week and has all the mod cons that you would need. It is said to be the most “heavily booked rental” in Britain.

NATURE RESOURCE: The bay is marketed as a superb location for water-based activities. The warm, waters are popular during the summer months for snorkelling and diving.



A FIVE-MILE road with copious twists and turns leads to one of the most unspoilt parts of the Purbeck Peninsula and nirvana for fossil hunters and lovers of marine life.

Kimmeridge Bay forms part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Path and is no less important nationally than Lulworth Cove. It is also part of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest focusing on marine life.

Kimmeridge Bay is part of the Jurassic Coast

Kimmeridge is the locality for Kimmeridge clay, the geological formation that covers most of the area. Within the clay are bands of bituminous shale. Beneath the cliff is a large-wave platform. It is a rocky shore with rock pools and much ecology.

When this site visited the area for this article, the winds were really very strong and surfers were out in force to take advantage of the prevalent conditions.

‘Dorset has UK’s oldest ‘nodding donkey’ oil well’

North-west of the bay is the Kimmeridge Oil Field. The nodding donkey oil pump operating there has done so since the late 1950s and it is the oldest of its type still working in the UK.

The well produces 65 barrels of oil a day and it is located 1,150 ft (350 metres) below the cliff. It is tapped into a network of connected reserves. The oil is transported by tanker to the Perenco site at Wytch Farm and then pumped to the main refinery at Southampton Water.

‘Clavell Tower is UK’s most popular holiday home’

Looking out to sea from the top of the cliff is the Clavell Tower, a watch tower and folly built by the Rev John Richards Clavell in the 1930s. It is said to provide the best views of Kimmeridge Bay and the coast cliffs extending east into the firing ranges.

A few years ago the tower was renovated and physically “moved” as it was under threat of following into the sea as the cliff face was eroding. The old foundations are still there, just a few metres away from where the tower used to stand. The South West path bisects the tower and its old foundations.

‘All the comfortable mod-cons come with a price’

The Clavell Tower is now an immensely popular holiday rental that is leased out by the Landmark Trust and is fully booked until July of next year. It has a bathroom, a kitchen, a bedroom and a dining room over storeys for a three-day or four-day break or a week and the cost is up to £466.

‘Aquaria and displays are valuable education tool’

I also took the opportunity to visit the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre which is run by Dorset Wildlife Trust. Their inter-active displays and aquaria are a valuable resource for visitors and learning tools for students to explore rock pools, the bay and its ledges.

In the tanks within the centre, they hold a variety of seaweed and rock pool life including sea anemones, crabs, fish and invertebrates. Ballan wrasse, mullet, lobster and tompot blennies can be seen trying to camouflage themselves amongst the Rainbow wrack and Coralline sea weeds.

if you feel you can, it is worth supporting them through purchasing some of the products in the shop.
In there you will find a Dorset Wildlife Trust water bottle and you can dispense with the single-use water bottles for good.

‘Purchase your last ever water bottle’

Some facts worth considering are that bottled water costs 10 per cent of using water and 15 million single use bottles are used and then discarded daily and bottled water costs 10,000 times the cost of tap water. £2B is spent on the manufacture of them and the water bottle never decomposes.

So with this blue bottle at a seemingly expensive £9.95 for it, you have to factor in its long-term use. It reduces the pollution, and water is constantly be reused and recycled and refilled via its use.

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