Man of War Bay
Just east of Durdle Door is the beautiful Man of War Bay (also sometimes written “Man O War”) – another of my favourite spots. Here you can see clearly how the hard Portland Stone barrier has been almost completely worn away by the sea over eons of time, leaving these jagged rocks guarding the bay. This line of reefs comes ashore at the west end of the bay, making for some great photo opportunities – see Chris’s photo (number 3) for an example.
This is apparently an excellent beach for bathing and snorkelling and provides stunning views of the surrounding cliffs.
Directions To get here, follow directions to Durdle Door, either walking from Lulworth Cove or by car to the car park beyond the Holiday Village. Take the path to Durdle Door, and halfway down the steps fork left rather than right.
A few miles west of Lulworth Cove are the twin bays of Man of War (see separate tip) and Durdle Door. The latter was my favourite of the places we visited around Lulworth, and is a perfect example of a coastal arch. The rocks here have been tilted so they are almost vertical, and the arch formed as a result of the softer rocks being eroded away behind the hard limestone, allowing the sea to punch through them. Eventually the arch will collapse to leave a sea stack.
The cliffs near the arch show the same vertical formation (see photo 4), and ridges of hard stone extend from them out onto the beach.
The beach here was once three separate coves. It is longer than at Lulworth and is a good choice for a walk by the sea. You should look out for fossils in the pebbles at your feet, though I didn’t spot any! In the distance to the west you can see the long low line of Chesil Beach extending out to Portland Bill (enlarge photo 5 to see this).
And if the views in my photos look familiar, although you have never been here, perhaps you have seen them in the cinema! Apparently this is the spot where Harry Potter and his friends sat and had a picnic in the film “Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets”.
By the way, the odd name of Durdle Door is thought to have derived from an Old English word thyrelod meaning pierced or having a hole – you can see why really LOL
Directions You can drive the couple of miles to Durdle Door from Lulworth Cove (the same car park ticket is valid for both) or walk there. If you chose to do the latter, it’s a fairly demanding walk of two miles each way, with some steep climbs, stony paths and rough ground in places. See the AA website for a longer version of this walk, taking in several other bays and sights along the coast. If you're driving, drive through the Holiday Village with its chalets and camping plots to access the car park.
- Hiking and Walking