Lulworth Cove, Fossils Forest and Mupe Bay Circular Walk
June 17th, 2021
Here our Office Manager, Jackie shares her favourite things about this circular walk from Lulworth Cove. She also gives a local’s insight into the best places to picnic, rockpool and take fantastic photographs.
Most visitors to Lulworth Cove take the westerly path up and over the hill to Durdle Door. Whilst this is an incredibly scenic route and certainly worth the walk, we recommend heading East and discovering the delights of Fossil Forest and Mupe Bay. These lesser-known beauty spots are off the tourist track and offer incredible views of the Jurassic Coast. Along the route, you’ll enjoy peace and quiet and get an up-close look at unique rock formations and local wildlife.
Things to consider before starting the walk
- This route is dependent on tide times so please check these out when planning your trip. You do need to be able to walk around the back of the cove or else you will need to climb Bindon Hill, which is a real challenge!
- The circular walk passes through army firing ranges. They are generally open to the public at weekends, but you should check the Government website before setting out on your trip
- Always carry an OS map of the area. Don’t depend on your mobile phone
- Take plenty of water and snacks
- Note there are no public facilities once you leave Lulworth
Lulworth Cove to Mupe Bay circular walk
This circular walk from Mupe Bay to Lulworth Cove takes around two hours to complete, but we recommend factoring in some extra time to admire the scenery and explore the fantastic ledges at Mupe Bay. You’ll want plenty of time to marvel at the landscape formed millions of years ago and imagine how it might have been.
On reaching Lulworth Cove, face the sea and walk to the left (east) on the pebbly and shingle beach. About two thirds of the way round there is a set of wooden steps leading up off the beach. They are not obvious so keep an eye out for them.
Take the steps and follow the path through some bushes and gorse until you reach a T junction. Then take the right-hand path over a boardwalk.
Note that the land here is very wet and can be boggy all year round, so make your way carefully through this point.
Continue up hill and eventually you will reach the top and be rewarded with some absolutely stunning views of the Cove.
Follow the coast path westwards towards the army ranges. The area is fenced off but there is a gate to pass through when the ranges are open. Go though the gate and continue to the Fossil Forest. Recently the steps and cliffs here have been reinforced and made safe for visitors to gain access to this fascinating location.
Here you will see the round fossilised bowl shapes called tufa which were left when the tree trunks rotted away as the sea levels rose. You can also see fossilised ripple marks of the sea floor and agal mats.
Leaving the Fossil Forest behind, follow the coast path towards Mupe Bay. Stunning views will open up in front of you towards Arish Mell, Worbarrow Bay and St Aldhelms Head in the distance.
Suddenly you will come to a small headland which overlooks Mupe Ledges – there are some picnic benches to sit and admire the views. You can obviously take your lunch break here, but I would very much encourage you to descend the steps down into the Bay itself. Seeing the rock formations at ground level is when Mupe Bay really delivers!
The steps can be steep but there is a handrail for most of the way down. If you have timed it right for low tide, the rocks and ledges will be exposed and you can clamber over these exploring rock pools to your hearts content.
I love to visit here because it is a photographers dream especially at sunrise! But the winter colours can be just as spectacular.
Return to Lulworth Cove
Bindon Hill route
The route back to Lulworth Cove via Bindon Hill is extremely challenging, but your efforts will be rewarded with spectacular views of the area. The hill is very steep and you’ll probably need to stop a couple of times for a beather.
Once up on the ridge the walk is flat back to the Cove and then you will descend down onto the road just outside the village.
Lower Inland Path route
My favoured route is the lower inland path, which leads you back through the firing ranges. I particularly enjoy this part of the walk as it immerses you in the natural habitat of the chalkland heaths. Along the way you will be treated to numerous examples of this wildlife: Stone Chats, Red Polls, Skylarks, Linnets and Yellow Hammers and if you are lucky the Dartford Warbler or even a lizard or two!
I’m a great twitcher so this is a most enjoyable slow wander back to the Cove by joining the coast path just above the Fossil Forest and then take the path downhill back to the beach.
Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door Walk
If you are in the area for longer than a weekend then I’d definitely recommend walking from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door. Everyone knows Durdle Door and the desire to see this iconic landform is great. But Mupe Bay is a fantastic location, a ‘not to be missed’ location , a ‘secret’ location so make sure you take a left at Lulworth Cove and discover it for yourself!