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Exploring the Jurassic Coast on Foot – Guy Kerr, Programme Manager for the Jurassic Coast Trust

As you may recall from a previous blog I work for the Jurassic Coast Trust to promote the values of the World Heritage Site to businesses, our Members, and to the wider public.

One of the more interesting aspects of my job is organising guided walks along the Jurassic Coast. With its 95 miles of incredible coastal pathways, taking in everything from the white sands of Exmouth to the wilds of the Undercliffs Reserve near Lyme Regis, the Jurassic Coast offers a walking experience like few other places on Earth.

The benefits of walking in nature are well-documented, and thousands of people every year partake of the Jurassic Coast’s pathways inspirational views to enjoy some gentle relaxing time in nature, reconnect with family and friends, or take their beloved pet for some much-needed exercise.

Where we, as the charity responsible for managing the World Heritage Site, play our part is in offering people the opportunity to explore somewhere new and learn a little bit along the way. We organise guided walks led by our brilliant volunteer Ambassadors, who are hand-picked for both their knowledge and their ability to relate to people. The Jurassic Coast’s 185 million year old story can be a dizzying onslaught of facts and figures, and it takes a particular talent to be able to relate these to your everyday Jurassic Coast enthusiast.

Last year our most popular walks were to Keates Quarry in Purbeck, home to an incredible dinosaur footprints site. This walk is particularly popular with families, as it is flat, easily traversed, and wraps up from go to woe within two hours. We were blessed to have five different Ambassadors lead walks there last year, each offering a slightly different take on the site and its historical marvels.

For the more adventurous, there are our regular walks through the Undercliffs Reserve, which we operate in partnership with Natural England, the reserve’s managers. These walks are led by multiple people, include a comprehensive safety briefing, and typically last 5-6 hours. The effort is well worth it – the Undercliffs provides some of the most spectacular scenery and hidden natural gems of the entire coastline.

A new addition to our portfolio last year was a series of walks to Worbarrow Bay and the abandoned village of Tyneham in Purbeck. These were very popular with guests, and each walk involved a slightly different route, dependent on the conditions of the day and the participants’ preferences. The geology of this part of the coast is particularly spectacular, with intersecting layers creating dramatic coastal features that look like they were dropped in from outer space.

We are now in the final stages of planning our 2020 walks. We’ll certainly be returning to our most popular routes, and are looking at potential new routes as well – one such candidate is the Fossil Forest near Lulworth Cove, which has been closed for five years and is due to re-open this Spring. We hope to work with the Lulworth Rangers team to offer people an opportunity to explore this fascinating site.

If I’ve learned one thing from my five years on the Jurassic Coast, it’s that there is always more to explore, more favourite places to discover, and always more to learn. Taking it in bit by bit, scanning a map of the coastline for places unknown, or returning to places visited in years gone by always yields rich rewards. For those of us lucky to call this beautiful place home, the coast provides an endlessly renewable resource of inspiration and wellbeing, and it all begins with a single footstep.

Exploring the magnificent Undercliffs Reserve. Photo by Bella Ormerod
Dinosaur Footprints Walks at Keates Quarry in Purbeck
Jurassic Coast Ambassador John Scott leads a walk to Worbarrow Bay. Photo by Bella Ormerod.

With Many Thanks to Guy Kerr, to find out more about the Jurassic Coast Trust, visit them here 

See also Walking the Jurassic Coast

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Posted by Siobhan on January 20th 2020

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