Beautiful Kimmeridge Bay lies just 7 miles (by road) from Wareham. It sits on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and within the Purbeck Coast Marine Conservation Zone. There is so much to explore, from the fossil-rich seashore ledges to the wealth of rockpool life to be found at low tide and the stunning underwater scenery in the bay’s shallow waters. On a calm summer’s day you can try the Dorset Wildlife Trust’s snorkel trail and come face to face with a curious tompot blenny or a feisty crab.
The bay is recognised for its varied and extraordinary marine life, including tiny stalked jellyfish, the unusual Peacock’s Tail seaweed and a remarkable community of rockpool creatures including the Connemara clingfish and Montagu’s blenny. Creatures such as cushion stars, colourful sea anemones, sea snails and several types of crab are easy to spot.
Dorset Wildlife Trust’s snorkel trail at the Find Foundation Wild Seas Centre
From May to September a snorkel trail in the shallow waters of the bay is a popular way to experience this astonishing wildlife haven. Visit the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre where Dorset Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers can advise on tides, best times to use the trail and what to look for. There is a waterproof trail guide available to purchase along with masks and snorkels to buy or hire. More details on the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre Website.
Above water, visit the Centre’s small aquarium and find out more about the wildlife of this special place and how you can help protect it. Or take a walk along this section of the South West Coast Path for fine views over towards the Isle of Portland and the Jurassic Coast. You may spot brown hares, skylarks, kestrels and peregrines alongside a stunning display of coastal wildflowers, from thrift and sea campion to wild cabbage and sea carrot. From the cliffs there is always the chance of spotting the occasional seal or dolphin, so keep your eyes peeled!
When exploring the beach please follow the Seashore Code to ensure wildlife is not disturbed:
• Explore with eyes and fingers, not fishing nets, to avoid scaring animals into hiding.
• Replace rocks and seaweed exactly as you found them – it’s a creatures home.
• Avoid trampling over seaweed where animals may be sheltering beneath.
• Watch wildlife in situ – do not remove seaweed, limpets and anemones attached to the rock.
• Take your own litter away and pick up a few extra pieces if you find them.
• Check the tides before venturing around the coast.
Dorset Wildlife Trust
Dorset Wildlife Trust is a local conservation charity, dedicated to making space for nature. They manages 40 nature reserves and four visitor centres across Dorset. For more information about Dorset Wildlife Trust’s nature reserves, please visit their website.
Dorset’s Marine Protect Areas
Reaching from Ringstead Bay in the west to Old Harry Rocks at the east end of Swanage Bay, the Purbeck Coast Marine Protected Area (MPA) covers some 280 km2 of seabed. Find out more about the Purbeck Coast Marine Conservation Zone