6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Dorset Magazine today CLICK HERE

Portland Bill Walk, Dorset

15:27 04 March 2010

This walk is taken from Walking the East Jurassic Coast – Portland to Studland by Robert Westwood. Published by Coastal Publishing at £4.95, the book is available from mid-May 2010.

This walk is taken from Walking the East Jurassic Coast Portland to Studland by Robert Westwood. Published by Coastal Publishing at 4.95,
the book is available from mid-May 2010.

Distance4 miles (6.5km)
Estimated time212 hours
DifficultyAn easy, level walk
Ascent165ft (50m)
MapOS Explorer map OL15
Starting pointSY693704


1 From the car park at Cheyne Weare follow the coast path south towards Portland Bill. You will have to follow the road for a short while before branching off on a track to the left marked coast path. Follow this all the way to Portland Bill, past a number of old quarry sites on the cliffs.

2 After exploring Portland Bill go round the lighthouse and follow the coast path to the west. Go across the grassy area next to the MoD buildings and then take the path that follows the coast.

3 At a stone marker just before the large buildings take the path to the right signed East Cliff. Follow this path, keeping left when it appears to split (follow the footpath signs). You will reach a road where you should bear right and then right again after a short while.
4 At the Eight Kings pub turn left at the mini-roundabout and follow the road back to the starting point.


The Isle of Portland is the classic location to see the Portland Stone. It is an oolitic limestone, formed from millions of tiny spherical ooliths, created as layers of calcium carbonate grew around grains of sand or shell fragments, prompted by the rolling motion of waves and currents in a shallow, tropical sea. The layers would have formed as horizontal sheets on the sea floor, gradually accumulating over millions of years. As you walk past the limestone cliffs and the old quarry workings notice the varying thicknesses of the layers. Why do they vary so much? Layers occur because conditions alter. If sedimentation carried on consistently in an unchanging environment then a thick homogeneous layer would be the result. If conditions change this is reflected by a corresponding change in the sediment being deposited. It might be a variation in sea level or climate.The limestone layers of the Portland Stone, often over a metre thick, indicate relatively long periods of settled conditions. It is difficult to estimate the rate at which the sediment formed but typical rates are in the order of a few millimetres every thousand years. The Portland Stone was deposited in a high-energy environment, where strong currents rolled the sediment on the seabed backwards and forwards. One indication of this is the cross-bedding that can sometimes be seen in the rocks. This appears as faint inclined layers cutting across other inclined layers, rather like the structure found in sand dunes. This is indicative of formation in a very shallow sea where the surface tidal movements extended down to the sea floor.

For more information:
Visit www.jurassiccoasttrust.org or www.jurassiccoast.com to download pictures of the Jurassic Coast on App for iPhones or iPod touch or download a podcast.
Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre has information about the Jurassic Coast and its fossils and runs guided fossil walks.
Lower Sea Lane, Charmouth
01297 560772, www.charmouth.org
Chesil Beach Centre is situated halfway along the Causeway from Weymouth to Portland, on the Portland Beach Road (A354); here you can learn about this remarkable barrier beach. The Centre also offers a variety of guided walks and talks for groups and families, a list of events can be found on the website.
01305 760579, www.chesilbeach.org
Lulworth Heritage Centre, Lulworth Cove, Wareham, is close to Durdle Door, Stair Hole and Lulworth Cove.
01929 400587, www.lulworth.com
Durlston Country Park, Lighthouse Road, Swanage 01929 424443

0 comments

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 10:48
Late evening winters light at Durdle Door Dorset (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

We took to Twitter one evening and asked our followers for their number one favourite thing about living in Dorset. Here’s what they told us...

Read more
Friday, April 17, 2015
Swanage Railway steam train chuffing past Corfe Castle. Photo by Andrew P M Wright

Steam trains, seaside adventures and castles. This Purbeck town is at the very heart of Famous Five country and you can have a smashing day out here

Read more
Friday, April 17, 2015
Ian Collins and Sir David Attenborough in front of John Craxton’s Pastoral for PW in Tate Britain

John Craxton – Sir David Attenborough’s favourite painter - went his own way from the outset. Ian Collins, curator of a new Craxton exhibition in Dorchester, reveals how this maverick spirit went from Cranborne Chase to painting under bright Cretan skies

Read more
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Lord Fellowes with the New Hardy Players at the opening of the Hardy Birthplace Visitor Centre.

A new visitor centre celebrating Thomas Hardy and bringing together his cottage and the landscape which inspired his writing, has been opened by Lord Julian Fellowes.

Read more
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The distinctive golden cliffs of West Bay which play a starring role in Broadchurch © VisitEngland Images

With a notable increase in people searching online for property in this now famous film location, what does the ‘Broadchurch effect’ mean for house prices in West Dorset?

Read more
Mary-Lou Sturridge in the dining room

Hailed as the hippest hangout on Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, The Seaside Boarding House is the cliff-top creation of former Groucho Club co-founder Mary-Lou Sturridge. So is it infused with maritime magic? We take you on an exclusive tour

Read more
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Durdle Door - photo by Stephen Banks

There’s not much better than a clear night sky, right? We’ve rounded up 4 Dorset Wildlife Trust Reserves perfect for stargazing

Read more
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Longcombe Bottom from the valley head path - photo by Edward Griffiths

Edward Griffiths revels in some of the finest views in England from
Compton Abbas Airfield on this breathtaking north Dorset walk

Read more
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Old Harry Rocks in the hazy spring

Edward Griffiths enjoys the gorse-clad heath, song-filled woods and vast empty beaches of Studland on this early spring walk where you may even spot a deer

Read more
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
BNSS museum room © Katherine West

Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is pleased to be taking part in the Bournemouth Natural Science Society’s (BNSS) open day on Saturday 11 April, with a series of wildlife gardening workshops.

Read more
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Rampisham Down. Photo by Tony Bates

Rampisham Down is one of the UK’s largest remaining sites of lowland acid grassland. So why grant permission to build a solar power station on this rare habitat, asks Dorset Wildlife Trust Chief Executive, Dr Simon Cripps

Read more
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Durdle Door - photo by Stephen Banks

From Durlston Country Park, to Moors Valley, to Kingston Lacy; there’s a number of stargazing events on offer in Dorset soon.

Read more
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Sherborne Castle - photo by William Hollyoak

Greatly sought after as a film location, this charming north Dorset town offers a packed events programme, an impressive array of independent shops, superb schools, two castles, an abbey and an illustrious history

Read more
Monday, March 16, 2015

Dorset’s vintage charity attraction, Wimborne Model Town, seeks additional weekend volunteers to assist with the shop and visitor admissions when it reopens for the new season on 28 March.

Read more

NEWSLETTER SIGNUP



Dorset's trusted business finder
subscription ad

subscription ad