Kimmeridge Bay: the place for water sports
Kimmeridge Bay lies between Chapman's Pool and
on the Jurassic Coast.Given it's easy access by car it is popular with windsurfers,canoeists and scuba divers.
Take the road opposite the National Trust Centre at
that is signposted to Church Knowle.You go through Church Knowle and after about another mile turn left where Kimmeridge is signposted.Now Kimmeridge Bay is part of the Smedmore Estate and there is a toll booth just before you reach the bay.Here you will have to pay £5 to bring your car down to the beach.
If you are prepared to walk a bit, this problem can be avoided as there is parking just before you enter Kimmeridge village.You can then walk through the village past the toll booth down to the beach.Be sure to stop off in the excellent farm shop and cafe as you pass through the village.
Once there,there is ample parking with toilets and even a fresh water shower.After parking there is a short footpath down to the beach.As this is part of the Jurassic coast there are fossils to collect,but only those you find loose on the ground.Do NOT take a hammer with you and start hacking away at the cliff face which is loose anyway.
The geology here allows for the extraction of oil which first started in 1959, and you will see "nodding Donkies" ,that draw the oil up, to the west of the bay
At the eastern end of the bay there is a Marine Life Visitors Centre.Here you can deepen your understanding of the bay and it's inhabitants such as Aiptasia,Fan Worm,Ross Coral & Cuttelfish.The centre guide you around the bay with trips like"Rockpool Ramble" and "Snorkelling for Softies".
Just to the left of the Marine Centre is a launching ramp,so if you want to windsurf,scuba dive,canoe or snorkle, then here is where you want to enter the water.There is parking just behind this ramp which will save you carrying down heavy gear from the main car park.
The South West Coastal Path runs round Kimmeridge Bay and if you follow the path up a steep hill at the eastern end of the bay you will reach Clavell Tower built by the Reverend John Richards Clavell in 1830 as an observatory and folly.
It has connections with literature being the the inspiration for PD James' The Black Tower and the poems of Thomas Hardy.
The tower has been empty since it was gutted by fire in 1930.Recently it has come so close to the cliff edge due to erosion that a decision was made to move it back 25m.
With funding from the
and others,it has now been rebuilt and you can rent the tower for a self catering holiday.Go to the Landmark Trust website to make a booking.
However I should add that this property is VERY popular and at the time of writing (Feb 2011) almost the whole of 2011 is booked up.
Note the property sleeps two in one double bed.
If you wish to continue on foot from Kimmeridge Bay,to the east lies Chapman's Pool and to the west.
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