The Dorset Coast
The Jurassic Coast of England
The Dorset coast is famous for its beauty. The Dorset Coast forms part of the ‘Jurassic Coast’, which extends from Exmouth in East Devon to Old Harry Rocks in Purbeck. The Jurassic Coast was awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO for being a place of ‘outstanding universal value’. Through its geology, cliffs, arches, stacks and stumps, the coast represents 185 million years of the Earth’s history.
The Dorset Coast, located in the south of England on the English Channel, runs from Lyme Regis in the west, past Old Harry Rocks in Purbeck to Highcliffe in the east. Excluding the shoreline of Poole Harbour, the Dorset coastline is 142 kilometres (88 mi) long.
Along the east coast of the Isle of Purbeck, the alternating layers of hard (more resistant) and soft (less resistant) rock run at right angles to the sea, creating a bay and headland formation. This is typical of a discordant coastline.
In contrast, limestone runs parallel along the southern coastline, forming a concordant coastline. the southern coast is relatively smooth in shape, where the rock is uniform. However, at Lulworth, a cove has formed where waves have broken through a weakness in the cliffs.
There is a range of coastal erosion and deposition landforms along the Dorset Coast, which can be explored in the diagram below.
The interactive map below shows some of the coastal landforms of erosion and deposition on the Dorset Coast. Click the icon in the top right corner to view in full screen.
Explore locations along the Dorset Coast in more detail:
Use the images below to explore related GeoTopics.