World Heritage Site – The Jurassic Coast
Everything you need to know for your VW camper van trip from Devon to Dorset.
Discover the wonders of this 96-mile-long coastal road in a VW camper van all year round in the sunny south-west of England. Listed as a World Heritage Site since 2001, this stretch of sun kissed beaches and rugged cliffs are a camper’s delight. From Exmouth in East Devon to Studland Bay in Dorset this particular coastline holds world renowned treasures about the Earth’s distant past.
The rocks that make up the stunning cliffs date back as far as 235 million years to the eons of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous when the environment was somewhat different than the south-east of England as we know it today. With multiple thin layers of exposed rock representing millennia before your eyes, it is easy to get lost in the wonder of velociraptors and Epidexipteryxs. Let this exotic coastline capture your imagination and transport you to the age of the dinosaurs! If you’re taking fossil hunting seriously, the most fruitful fossil finding areas have been known to be around Charmouth, Lulworth Cove and Lyme Regis. The dark pigmentation in the rocks reveal clues about the deposition environment in which these rocks were formed. Guided fossil walks are available from the Lyne Regis Museum for the true paleontologists amongst you.
The biggest draw to this region is undoubtedly the natural science, however, there are abundant outdoor pursuits to enjoy in between fossil hunts.
With over 300 miles of marked walking trails along coast, historical landmarks, Wareham Quay and Corfe Castle there’s plenty of opportunity to stretch your legs and get a bit of fresh air.
If cycling is your bag, you’ll be delighted to know that the local council have gone to the trouble of implementing cycle paths all along the most scenic routes and lovely coastline. With the freedom to park up somewhere comfy and take the bikes off the racks you can spend as long as you want testing out the tarmac. For the super ambitious, the entire National Cycle Network Route 2 is at your doorstep or if you’d prefer more leisurely cruises concur the route section by section. Bite size cycle outings with lots of stops for rock admiring and picture taking are the best cycle outings.
Having everything you need in-tow allows you the freedom to drive to every new location with minium hassel and with so much to do and see in this area you’ll be glad of it. Corfe Castle is definitely worth a stop, offering full Viking re-enactments complete with costume and attitude.
For the animal lovers, the Jurassic Coast is an exciting hub of wild life centres and natural reserves. The RSPB’s Radipole Lake is noted to be especially beautiful in the Autumn while Lorton Meadows and Lodmoor Reserve are great summer spots. The Dorset Wildlife Trust is a popular visiting sight all year round as well as the Monkey World Chimp Rescue Centre at Wareham and the Sea Life Park in Weymouth. If you’ve ever wanted to know what 600 swans being fed amongst an array of sub tropical plants looks like, head to the Abbotsbury Gardens and if that doesn’t satisfy the days thirst for entertainment you can meander on to Thomas Hardy’s Cottage at Dorchester for more culture steeped goodness.
If you want a break from the road, make the most of the good weather and hire a boat for an afternoon of dinghy sailing, kayaking, wind-surfing or scuba diving in Portland, the 2012 Olympics sailing venue. The natural shape of this fantasic coastline gives the perfect combination of shelter and breeze. If you’d prefer to sit back and let someone else take the helm, why not go on one of the many day cruises starting from the Dorset and East Devon towns of Exmouth, Beer, Lyme Regis, West Bay, Weymouth, Lulworth Cove, Swanage, Wareham, Proole and Bournemouth. In addition to this, fantastic fishing spots pepper the coast for any keen anglers looking for something to throw on the grill at dinner.
However you decide to spend your time exploring the Jurassic Coast, gift yourself the pleasure of doing it in a VW camper van, at your own pace and with all your home comforts.