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A field of buttercups and long grass, an impressive and very English sight, leads down to the famous arch and rocks, sunlight sparkling on the ocean behind it.

As we walk, Adam tells me about the wealth of fossils found in this area, including the recent discovery of a prehistoric crocodile-type creature on the Jurassic Coast that measured about 3.5m.

The shifting of plates and other geological activity over millions of years has created a landscape of rock and cliffs that seem to tip, lean and jut out of the earth in all directions.

The Jurassic Coast might be an oldie, but there’s plenty of life in it yet.

Getting there

Trains from London Waterloo to Wareham cost from about £50.20 return.

Onward buses from Wareham to Swanage can be booked with the Wilts and Dorset bus company (bus no 40)

More info

Diving packages cost £20 per person per dive I

Kayaking trips cost £30-£50 per person

Climbing and abseiling costs £40

Half-day guided hikes with Jurassic Jaunts from £50

Eat, Drink, Sleep

La Trattoria, a very friendly, cosy Italian restaurant close to Swanage’s seafront, has lots of local fish and seafood on the menu, and an experienced head chef who has worked there for 28 years. Mains from about £8.

The Fish Plaice is one of the busiest of Swanage’s many fish and chip shops for good reason. Fish and chips costs about £5.50. 

The busy Square & Compass pub in Worth Matravers is popular with locals and visiting hikers, with pies, pasties and a good selection of local ales and ciders on offer. Pints from about £3.10.

The food isn’t great at Bankes Arms Studland, but the view from the beer garden is, and it’s a good start or end point for hiking to Old Harry’s Rocks. Pints from about £3.10.

Buddies B&B specialises in accommodation and diving packages. Rooms from £50pn.

Tom’s Field is a popular local campsite. Pitches from about £7pppn.

More on the Jurassic Coast at


Photos: Graeme Green, Thinkstock

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England's Jurassic Coast: an adventure playground you can't afford to miss
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