Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay

Kimmeridge Bay is located within Dorset and is known as being one of the best rock-pooling and snorkeling sites in the United Kingdom. The Bay is also located marine Special Area of Conservation on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, running alongside the South West Coast Path national walking trail. The nearby Wild Seas Centre encourages exploration of the bay, its ledges, and various rock pools. Visitors can spend some time crabbing or participate in a rockpool ramble. There is no cost for entrance into the various exhibitions or the small aquarium. In addition to these attractions, various events are held throughout the year, all of which are perfect for children and adults alike.

During the summer months, a snorkel trail guides swimmers to the colorful marine life that resides within the shallow waters of Kimmeridge Bay. Just above the Bay is Clavell Tower. The tower was constructed as a folly and today is used as holiday accommodations. The tower has been the inspiration for well-known figures such as P.D. James and Enid Blyton. It is worth noting that the walk up to the tower is quite a steep one, but upon reaching the top visitors are rewarded with incredible views overlooking the Bay. The area is a popular one for surfers and windsurfers alike, as the sea breezes and surf are created in part by the rock ledges positioned beneath the waves.

There are public restrooms and showers located inside the car park. The main car park sits overlooking the Bay itself. Both amenities are accessible via a toll road but do note that charges may apply. Access to these areas is free for those who are biking or on foot. Visitors who will be arriving by way of coach or minibus will need to have a permit for parking. Additional information regarding permits can be found online at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/coachpermits. The car park opens at daylight and closes at dusk. The Wild Seas Centre opens from April to October, and can be entered during the hours of 10:30 am and 5:00 pm.

When traveling to Kimmeridge Bay by car, you’ll find that the nearest major road is the A351 at Wareham. Simply follow the by-pass around Wareham in the direction of Swanage for approximately 2 miles and then turn right towards Kimmeridge. From there, visitors can follow the provided signs to the village. As mentioned above, there is a toll-road that leads down to the main car park.

The toll costs are as follows:

  • Cars – £5
  • Motor Bikes – £1
  • Mini Buses/Motorhomes – £10
  • Cars with a boat on the roof – £10
  • Vehicle and trailer – £15
  • Coaches over 15 seats – £20

The Wild Seas Centre is located on the beach near the slipway. To plan your visit to Kimmeridge Bay via public transport, visit www.travelinesw.com.

The geology of the area surrounding Kimmeridge Bay is quite unique, being comprised of bedrock that was formed during the Late Jurassic epoch. Quaternary head deposit overlays are seen in many areas throughout the bay. The bedrock is comprised primarily of Kimmeridge clay. One exception to this is the top of Smedmore Hill and areas along Swyre Head, which contain Portland Stone. Flat ledges of bituminous shale and dolomite can be seen at low tide.

A few final notes – It is worth mentioning that handicap restrooms are provided, dogs and most other pets are welcomed year-round, and while fossil collecting is not prohibited, the use of hammers is not allowed at Kimmeridge.