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The Dorset Coast
Dorset is fortunate in having one of the most varied coastlines of any county in the country. This variety stems from the markedly different rock types that are exposed along the shores. Sandstones, chalk, clays and limestones are arranged in a complex layer-cake that has then been buckled and tilted resulting in a cross-section through time and evolution that gives a distinctively different character to each and every bay and cliff along the coast.
As you travel from East to West along the coastline you are also travelling back through time. From Studland Bay westwards to Lyme Regis the rocks provide an almost unbroken record of the changes in climate and life forms over a time span estimated to be 135 million years. The completeness of the record and the fact that it is all exposed and accessible for study along the many sea-cliffs means that the coast is also of great scientific importance a fact recognised by the recent designation of the coastline as a natural World Heritage Site.