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Discover the Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset with a Cicerone Guidebook

Cover of Walking the Jurassic Coast
2 Aug 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm
1st Published
4 Jun 2015
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Walking the Jurassic Coast

Dorset and East Devon - The walks, the rocks, the fossils

by Ronald Turnbull
Book published by Cicerone Press

This guidebook includes 30 walks on the Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset. Covering the coast between Exmouth and Bournemouth, these delightful routes range from 3 to 16 miles (5 to 24km), exploring and explaining the spectacular geology of this World Heritage area with clear, easily understood descriptions, cross-sections and timelines.

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Cover: Paperback - Laminated
Size: 17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm
Weight: 260g

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The Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset, stretching between Exeter and Bournemouth, is a geological wonderland. Natural wonders like Chesil Beach, Durdle Door and fossils so numerous you'll be tripping over them, combine with southern England's rolling Downs, tiny villages, beaches and sunny summers to provide a stunning and awe-inspiring landscape to explore.

The 30 walks in this guide let walkers discover the best and most spectacular areas on the coast. The walks are between 5 and 25km (3 to 16 miles) and provide a range suitable for all abilities. The guide has been divided into areas: Devon's Red Beds, the Lias, Chesil Beach, Chalk walks (Lulworth and inland) and the Isle of Purbeck. 

The geological descriptions are accompanied by strata diagrams, geological timelines, explanations of the creation of the various sedimentary rocks along the coast, and discussion of how and why the various formations formed millennia ago. The incredible - yet readable - detail brings these walks and the landscape alive. And yet, the routes can just as easily be walked for their own sake and the pleasure of rolling downs, high cliffs and beach sunshine.

As well as detailed descriptions for every walk, accompanied by OS maps, there are details on available parking, points of interest along the way (on rocks and other sights) and advice on the terrain covered. The general and geological introductions provide background on the region and the appendices give thorough information on local museums and information centres, cliff diagrams, a glossary of geological terms and a quick, look-up guide to the rocks of the Jurassic Coast. More than just a walking guidebook, this book is an invitation to explore and learn about this spectacular Natural World Heritage area.

  • Activities
    Coastal and inland day-walking, potentially multi-day trek
  • Seasons
    Year-round. Late July and August can be busy on beaches and car parks. Winter (October to March) has more challenging weather and can be muddy underfoot.
  • Centres
    Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Beer/Seaton, Lyme Regis/Charmouth, Bridport, Dorchester, Portland, Cerne Abbas, Lulworth, Swanage
  • Difficulty
    Most walks are on good, clear paths. Coast path ascents and descents can be steep but are short. The longer walks, up to 28km, require physical fitness but many shorter ones allow time for studying the rockforms and fossils.
  • Must See
    Nearly 100 miles of clifftops. Fossil-hunting at Lyme Regis. The quartzite pebbles of Budleigh Salterton. Tree trunks of 150 million years ago at Lulworth Cove. The Cretaceous sea that carved right across England. Chalk downland and a rude man at Cerne Abbas. The Purbeck crumple zone caused by Italy's impact with Europe.

April 2016

Walk 8 Lyme Regis Undercliff
The route has reopened (Spring 2016) after being closed due to a landslip above Culverhole Point. The new, slightly diverted route takes in Goat Island (which isn't an island - see 'Insolated Strip' in the diagram with Walk 8). Thanks to Paddy Dillon for flagging this.


The cover of the guidebook refers to 'notes on the Jurassic Coast Path' which were not included in the final published book/ePub/Kindle.

We apologise for any confusion or disappointment but readers can now download Ronald's introduction to, outline description of and tips on the logistics of tackling the Jurassic Coast Path here.


The Jurassic Coast
When to walk
Getting there and around
Staying the night
Maps and GPS
Safety at the seaside
Using this guide
Geological introduction
The sea
The Great Unconformity
The Universal Formations
The fossils
The drift of the continents
Eastwards is also ‘up’
1 Devon’s Red Beds
Walk 1 Budleigh Salterton and Woodbury Castle
Walk 2 Budleigh Salterton
Walk 3 Otterton, Peak Hill and the Otter
Walk 4 Sidmouth to Weston
Walk 5 Branscombe Mouth to Weston Mouth
Walk 6 Beer and Hooken Undercliff
Walk 7 Hartridge and Dumpdon
Red Bed Roundabout
2 The Lias
Walk 8 Lyme Regis Undercliff
Walk 9 Lyme Regis to Charmouth
Golden Cap
Walk 10 Hardown Hill, Golden Cap and Seatown
Walk 11 Golden Cap and Seatown
Walk 12 Bridport to Seatown
Walk 13 West Bay and Burton Bradstock
Walk 14 Beaminster to Pilsdon Pen
3 Chesil Beach
Walk 19 Osmington shore and White Horse
4 Chalk Walks: Lulworth and inland
Walk 20 Cerne Abbas and the Giant
Walk 21 Dorsetshire Gap
Walk 22 Hambledon and Hod hills
Walk 23 Ringstead Smugglers’ Path
Lulworth Cove
Walk 24 Lulworth Cove and Coast
Walk 25 Lulworth Cove and the Fossil Forest
5 Isle of Purbeck
Walk 26 Kimmeridge, Tyneham and Flower’s Barrow
Walk 27 Swyre Head and Houns Tout
Walk 28 Chapman’s Pool and St Aldhelm’s Head
Walk 29 Swanage: Durlston to Dancing Ledge
Walk 30 Ballard Down and Agglestone
The Isle of Purbeck Circuit
Appendix A Route summary table
Appendix B Indoor Geology: Museums and visitor centres
Appendix C Rock reference
Appendix D Glossary of geological terms
Appendix E Timechart: Cambrian period to the present day
Appendix F Rocks of the Jurassic Coast
Appendix G Jurassic Coast cliff diagrams
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