Wednesday, 21 May 2014


The area around the village of West Lulworth is a destination, drawing upwards of 500,000 visitors a year. To see the various landforms that can be seen in the area. Such as Lulworth Cove which featured on the 2005 TV series Seven Natural wonders and is famous for it's unique shape, which formed as a result of the alternating bands of rock running parallel to the coastline eroding at different speeds. And wave diffraction, the narrow mouth of the cove (consisting of the more resistant Portland and Purbeck limestone) bends the waves into an arc shape as they enter the wider part of the cove (formed of a wide band of soft clays and greensands).

The nearby Stair hole is an infant cove that suggests what Lulworth Cove would have looked like a hundred thousand years ago. There is a narrow gap in the limestone here, allowing the Sea to erode Wealdon clays behind them, which is eroding very rapidly and shows obvious signs of slumping. Exposed on the eastern side of the Hole is the Lulworth Crumple, one of the best examples of Limestone Folding in the world, caused by movements in the tectonic plates millions of years ago (the formation of the Alps), which forced the layers of rock and sediment on the bottom of the sea floor almost veritical. Similar examples of Limestone Folding can be seen at Lulworth Cove itself and the nearby Durdle Door.

Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch that formed on a concordant coastline (where bands of rock run parallel to the shoreline). The arch itself is the remains of a band of Portland limestone that also forms the Man O'War rocks directly east of Durdle Door and the entrance to Lulworth cove. Behind this limestone is a 120-metre band of softer easily eroded rocks (Wealden clays and greensands), and behind that is the much harder more resistent chalk of the Purbeck hills. Durdle Door is privately owned by the Welds family who own 12,000 acres in the name of the Lulworth estate. UNESCO teams routinely monitor the condition of both the arch and the adjacent beach.

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