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Durdle Door

04 July 2019

Durdle Door is one of the most photographed landmarks along Dorset's famous Jurassic Coast. The name Durdle derives from an Old English word 'thirl' meaning bore or drill. Eventually the arch will collapse to leave a sea stack such as those that can be seen at Ladram Bay in East Devon.

Durdle Door Walks

Below the cliffs lies a sweeping shingle beach that was once three separate coves. This popular beach has no facilities although during the summer a mobile kiosk on the path leading to Durdle Door provides ice creams and refreshments. It is possible to swim in the area, although there are steep ledges in places and there is no lifeguard on duty here so great care must be taken. You will also notice some caves which have formed at the base of the cliffs, please keep clear of these as there have been a number of cliff falls in recent years.

The location is often found in popular culture. Scenes from the 1967 film of Thomas Hardy's novel 'Far From the Madding Crowd' were filmed here, and in 1997 parts of the film 'Wilde' starring Stephen Fry were also shot here.

Many may recall Cliff Richards' 1990 hit 'Saviour's Day' which saw Cliff singing both down on the beach and on the clifftop in the promotional video. And later, Tears for Fears shot parts of their video to promote 'Shout' at this iconic arch.

Whether you plan to walk along the coastal footpaths or simply take a picnic to Durdle Door beach, a visit to this stunning location will stay long in the memory. 

Durdle Door Beach

How Was Durdle Door Formed?

It'd be great if we could time travel to cast ourselves back where it all started. Unfortunately this can't happen, but geologists suggest that the rock arch in the sea (or is it a dragon drinking water?!) was formed as a result of the softer rocks being eroded away behind the hard limestones, allowing the sea to punch through them. Internet Geography states that there could only be one possible answer as to why this happened - plate tectonics.

Interesting Facts

  • Legend has it, the rocks are approximately 140 million years old.
  • The structure is about 200 feet tall.
  • The first time it appeared on the Ordnance Survey Map, way back in 1811, it was called Dirdale Door.
  • The footpath from Lulworth Cove is used by over 200,000 people each year - the busiest across the whole of the South West.
  • It's a great spot for music videos, used by Billy Ocean and Tears for Fears. The Jurassic Coast is home to other famous music videos too.

Durdle Door Directions: 

From Bournemouth - take the A35 towards Dorchester, turning left onto the A351 towards Wareham. Turn onto the A352 signposted to Wool then follow the brown signs.

From Dorchester - take the A352 signposted for Wool and Wareham. Towards Wool follow the brown signs. 

London to Durdle Door - from the M25 exit onto the M3. Merge onto the M27 and continue on the A31 until you reach Bere Regis, at which point turn left at the roundabout onto the A35, then right at the next roundabout. Turn left onto Southbrook and follow the road until you reach the A352. Turn right here and go through Wool, turn left past the Red Lion pub and follow the brown signs.

Access and car parking is via the nearby Holiday Park which leads to a pay and display car park at the top of the cliffs (postcode for sat nav is BH20 5PU).

View the Durdle Door map below

Things to Do Nearby:

Photo (top): Chris Jones

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