You might discover this expanse of shingle and sand beach by chance on a visit to the abandoned village of Tyneham.
Tucked away at the foot of the Purbeck Hills this stretch of coastline is a quiet, sheltered bay, perfect for picnicking, beachcombing, and soaking up the stunning views.
A gentle one mile walk from Tyneham village car park, and also accessible via the South West Coast Path, Worbarrow Bay (occasionally erroneously referred to as Tyneham Beach) is a stunning natural setting, untouched by modern development – as such, you won’t find many facilities here. There are, however, public toilets at Tyneham Farm.
Swimming and safety information
You can swim in Worbarrow Bay, however the water can shelve quite steeply so isn’t recommended for young children or novice swimmers.
Lifeguards are not on duty here.
Just to the left of Worbarrow Bay, as you walk down the path, is the small, rocky Pondfield Cove, where you can see fine examples of the ‘folds’ of sedimentary rock, characteristic of this part of the Jurassic Coast.
The cove and the bay are separated by the promontory Worbarrow Tout (meaning ‘lookout’), which makes for some far-reaching sea views if you climb to the top.
Worbarrow Tout and its cliff are also rich with geology, with both fossils and dinosaur footprints having been found.
Dogs at Worbarrow Bay
Worbarrow Bay and Pondfield Cove are good spots if you have a dog that likes to let off steam as they are welcome on this beach off-lead all year round.
How to get to Worbarrow Bay
Worbarrow Bay is a relatively flat one-mile walk from the now uninhabited village of Tyneham.
For your SatNav: BH20 5QN
From the A351 follow signs to Creech and Kimmeridge. You’ll soon see signs for Tyneham, where you can park in the village car park and walk to the bay.
Note that access to both Worbarrow Bay and Tyneham village is subject to restrictions due to the area being owned and used by the Ministry of Defence for training purposes.
The access road is typically open at weekends and during school holidays, but may be subject to change. For up-to-date access times you can phone for an automated message: 01929 404714
Access via the South West Coast Path
Worbarrow Bay can also be accessed via the South West Coast Path, which runs through the Lulworth Ranges.
Important safety information
All Range walks have been made safe for visitors, however it is important to stick to the way-marked paths.
These are marked by yellow markers and pathways are enclosed within fences, which walkers must stay inside.
Other ‘secret’ beaches in Purbeck
If you like to head out off the beaten track and explore places in relative solitude, there are some other quieter beaches and stretches of coastline in and around Swanage that are similarly undeveloped.
- Chapman’s Pool – The hidden gem of Chapman’s Pool offers a more rugged beach experience and can only be accessed via a decent walk and descent down some steps – park in the village of Worth Matravers and choose a dry day for ease
- Peveril Point – Despite being very close to town and all the amenities of Swanage, Peveril Point can be a relatively quiet place to wile away an hour. A rocky promontory to the southern-most end of Swanage Bay, the short walk out to Peveril Point give a fresh perspective on the bay and town
- Durlston Bay – Accessible via a scramble across rocks from Peveril Point or via steps and a path through a steep bit of woodland off Belle Vue Road, this generally secluded bay is suitable for sitting and admiring the view. Dogs may struggle underfoot with the rocks and sea swimming isn’t advised here
- Shipstal Beach – You might come across the odd walker or wildlife-watcher here, but this little beach on the shores of Poole Harbour is mostly tranquil and quiet. Accessed via a lovely woodland walk through Arne’s RSPB Nature Reserve, it’s a great spot for a picnic. Dogs should be kept on a lead here