Walking the Jurassic Coast: Dorset and East Devon


The walks, the rocks, the fossils

By Ronald Turnbull

There are a lot of guide books to the Jurassic Coast Work Heritage Site and I have reviewed several on this site. This one (Walking the Jurassic Coast: Dorset and East Devon: The Walks, the rocks, the fossils) is intended to provide a useful introduction to the general geology of the coastline, dealing with its formation, fossils and plate tectonics (among many other things).

Specifically, the advice is provided in the context of walks – for both afternoon rambles and long distance hikes for the more committed.

As such, it aims to provide an accessible guide to be carried by the walker and therefore is small enough to be fitted into a cagoule pocket. There is a general introduction to the fascinating geology of the area and, more specifically, it deals with Devon’s Red Beds, the Lias, Chesil Beach, the Chalk, and the Isle of Purbeck.

Each section covers a number of walks, making up a grand total of 30 in all, covering coastal routes from Exeter to Poole, with each route containing detailed instructions about where to go and what to see. In addition, it contains useful notes on the 110-mile Jurassic Coast Path from Exmouth to Poole Harbour, while explaining the spectacular geology in non-technical language. It also contains full colour photographs, maps and diagrams, all absolutely necessary for the walker, while being both informative and aesthetically pleasing.

There are also a number of appendices with useful information about (again, among many other things) local museums, a glossary of geological terms, a geological time chart, cliff diagrams and a list of the rocks that can be seen on the Jurassic Coast. In short, the book is very informative and contains more than enough for the dedicated or casual visitor and walker in the area.

Ronald Turnbull has won several Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guide Awards for his guidebooks, outdoor books and magazine articles. He has a regular column in the Lakeland Walker and writes for Trial, Cumbria, and The Great Outdoors. He also wrote the award winning book, Granite and Grit.

There are a number of guides to this area, including walking guides, but this is as good as any of them. It is certainly worth adding to your library of guide books to this wonderful World Heritage Site.

Walking the Jurassic Coast – Dorset and East Devon: The Walks, the rocks, the fossils, by Ronald Turnbull, Cicerone, Milnthorpe, Cumbria (2015), 235 pages (paperback), ISBN: 978-18-52847-41-8

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