Kimmeridge Bay is a southwest-facing beach on the western fringes of the 'Isle of Purbeck' in Dorset.
Not so much a beach, as a collection of rock platforms and ledges offering the chance to explore the Bay on a natural pavement. There are a few patches of sand at low water, but the majority of the beach consists of rock platforms and rectangular blocks.
Access to Kimmeridge Bay from Kimmeridge village is via a narrow toll road that heads southwest down through the Smedmore Estate. The toll road leads to a large car park overlooking the beach.
Due to its southwesterly aspect, the bay catches the best of any swell and winds available and consequently is popular with wave-sailing windsurfers and surfers. The Bay is also a designated Marine Wildlife Reserve so it is also a favourite with divers and snorkelling enthusiasts.
Looking back from the beach, the cliffs look like they were built rather than a natural phenomenon. The layers of Kimmeridge Clay are made up of fossil-rich mudstones interspersed with oil shales dating from approximately the late Jurassic period. The fossils visible on the rock platforms are usually ammonites although bivalves and even a tooth of an ichthyosaur have been found.
Although fossil hunting is permitted at Kimmeridge Bay, the use of hammers is not.
The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and Fine Foundation Marine Centre, to give it its full title, provides a vital educational resource. It encourages visitors of all ages to explore the bay, its ledges and rockpools. A snorkelling trail guides the more adventurous through different seabed habitats.
✔ Flora and Fauna
✔ Sandy beach
✘ Seasonal dog ban
✔ Easily accessible
✔ Family friendly
✔ Interesting geology
✔ Good Surfing
OS Explorer Map OL15: Purbeck & South Dorset
This map is part of the Ordnance Survey's Explorer series designed to replace the old Pathfinder map series. At 1:25,000 scale this detailed map shows a host of attractions including gardens which are open to the public, nature reserves and country parks as well as all official footpaths, bridleways, roads and lanes. Other facilities covered include: camping and caravan sites, picnic areas and viewpoints, selected places of interest, rights of way information for England and Wales, National Trail and Recreational Path routes, and selected tourist information. The series is aimed mainly at the experienced map user but can be used by tourists and locals alike.
Stay at a nearby Holiday Park and keep the kids amused all day! Parks in the vicinity include those at:
Plenty of hotels are available locally. Consider those in the local towns:
There's plenty more to explore in this area, too! Find more attractions and things to do nearby: