Watch our video, below! By Belinda Dixon
Adventures are not always about where you go. Sometimes they’re about how.
Take Dorset and Devon’s Jurassic Coast – here the geology spans 185 million years in just 95 miles. Russet sea stacks, chalk-white cliffs and limestone arches. Gorgeous from the cliff path, but what about from the water?
Time to find out on a kayaking tour out of picturesque Lulworth Cove. Kitted out and briefed we slid into the sheltered bay then out into more exposed seas. A swell of around 3ft and a gusting headwind provided the challenge; towering creamy cliffs provided the views.
After about a mile of hard paddling, Dorset’s emblematic Durdle Door edges into view. There’s something mesmerising about this 150-million-year-old rock arch. A massive, jutting cliff-with-a-hole that doesn’t quite seem real. And mesmerising is just from the shore.
Up close from a kayak rising and falling on a surging sea this monumental arch is absolutely awesome. Paddling under it, emerging into a sheltered strip of shore lined with onlookers is the kind of experience that just makes you grin. Fabulous.
After a beach-side food and drink stop it was back along this remarkable coast; paddling beside the base of huge cliffs; gully-chasing, rock-dodging, swell-riding. Smiling. Then a final play in Stair Hole Bay – home to the sweet-sounding Lulworth Crumple.
Here it was in through a tiny rock arch to a pint-sized bay where tricky waves push you onto rocks and then whisk the water away. It’s hard-to-paddle, heart-pounding stuff. Next it was time to dodge the rock jumpers, battle the swell and emerge through another arch. Grinning.
So what did we learn from this joyful paddle along Dorset’s sea-carved coast? That perspective matters. That challenge brings its own reward. And that there’s always more shore to explore.
We paddled with Jurassic Coast Activities. They were fun, professional and happy to give as much (or little) geological detail as you want. Dan will share his seaweed recipes if you ask too 😉
The Jurassic Coast has a great website outlining just what can be discovered. The area falls within the Dorset AONB; the National Trust also protects sections of the shore. Lulworth Cove makes a charismatic base. The Visit Dorset website has more info too.