Dorset and East Devon Coast (50°36' 23"N - 50°38' 24"N) is a World Heritage Site located on the south coast of the United Kingdom, the nominated site comprises approximately 155 kilometers (km) of undeveloped coastline and countryside between Orcombe Rocks, near Exmouth in East Devon, east to the geological boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary in Studland Bay, Dorset. The nomination consists of eight stretches of coastline: Orcombe Rocks to Chit Rocks, the River Sid, Sidmouth to Seaton Hole; the River Axe, Axmouth to The Cobb, Lyme Regis; Lyme Regis to West Bay; Chesil, the Fleet and Portland Coast; Portland Harbour Shore; Bowleaze Cove to Peveril Point; New Swanage to Studland Bay. The small gateway towns of Budleigh Salterton, Sidmouth, Seaton, Lyme Regis, West Bay, and Swanage that lie along this stretch of the coast are excluded from the nomination.
Over eighty percent of the nominated site comprises cliff coastline. The boundaries of the site include the continuous exposure of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous geological strata within the coastal cliffs as well as coastal geological features such as bays, beaches, lagoons stacks and landslides. The landward boundary varies along the coastline of the nominated site. Within cliff areas of the site, the boundary extends to the break in slope at the top of the most landward cliff-scarp, where there are no cliffs the boundary is taken at the back of beach. The seaward boundary of the nominated site is taken at the mean low tide mark, as defined by the UK Ordnance Survey. Sixty-seven statutory Geological Conservation Review sites are included within the nominated area. Such sites are considered within the UK as being of national or international importance. The geographical co-ordinates of the site are 50°36' 23"N / 3°23' 03"W to 50°38' 24"N / 1°56' 21"W at Studland Bay. The approximate center point of the site is 50°40' 09"N / 2°39' 02"W.
Date and History of Establishment
- The nominated site lies almost entirely within two areas that are legally designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) (87%), or a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), under section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are designated under section 87 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, 1949, and receive statutory protection under UK Law. Such designations recognize natural areas of outstanding landscape quality. Their primary purpose is to conserve natural beauty.
- The Dorset Downs, Heaths and Coast Landscape was established in 1957;
- The East Devon Landscape was designated as an AONB in 1963;
- Much of the nominated area is also designated as Heritage Coast by the Countryside Agency. This is a national, non-statutory designation, applied to the most attractive, non-developed coastline areas of England and Wales.
- The site also lies within areas that are designated as of being of international importance for wildlife, as either a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the European Council Habitats Directive, (92/43/EEC) and Birds Directive (79409/EEC). Chesil and the Fleet are also designated as Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance.
The nominated site extends over an area of approximately 2,550 hectares (ha).
An estimated 95 km out of 155 km of the site are owned by public bodies, conservation agencies or large private estates. The majority of the nominated site is under private ownership, with the greater part owned by the Clinton Devon Estate, the Weld Estate and Lulworth (approximately 26 km of the nominated coastline). Some of the main institutional landowners include the National Trust, the Crowne Estate, Dorset County Council, East Devon District Council and the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
The National Trust owns approximately 33 km of coast within the nominated site. Specifically the charity has extensive holdings along the East Devon Coast, the Golden Cap Estate and Burton Beach in West Dorset, areas of the south and east coasts of Purbeck and several other smaller sites. The Crowne Estate owns almost all of the inter-tidal area throughout the nominated area, the south-eastern portion of Chesil Beach (approximately 4 km) and most of the cliffs and undercliffs of the Isle of Portland (c.9 km). Dorset County Council owns and estimated 3 km of coastline at Durlston Head, Purbeck. It is managed as a country park, which is accessible to the General Public. East Devon District Council owns 6 km of the area, within three separate holdings located near Sidmouth and Budleigh Salterton. Approximately 5 km of coastline is owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), at Lulworth Gunnery Ranges. The entire bed of the Fleet Lagoon (13 km long) and 9 km of Chesil Beach are owned by Ilchester Estates, the site is managed as Chesil and Fleet Local Nature Reserve. Two significant commercially owned landholdings occur on the Isle of Portland, located in the northern and north-eastern parts of the undercliff and coastline. They are owned by Portland Port and Hanson Bath and Portland Stone.
The Dorset and East Devon Coast displays a remarkable combination of internationally renowned geological features, and is considered one of the most significant earth science sites in the World. It comprises a near-continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock exposures, that represents almost the entire Mesozoic Era, almost 190 million years of earth history. Additionally the coast contains an exceptional diversity of geomorphological features, landforms and processes that are considered the finest "text-book" examples of their kind. Five distinct and important aspects can be identified: landslides, beaches, the Fleet Lagoon, cliffs and raised beaches. Several fossil localities within the site could merit World Heritage Site status in their own right.
There are two well exhibited main features of the structural geology of the site, east-west trending extensional faults (the Abbotsbury-Ridgeway Fault and the Purbeck Fault), that have undergone contractional reactivation. The second are important large and medium-scale folds (Weymouth, Lulworth and Purbeck anticlines), that verge north and contain axes that are parallel with and adjacent to the reactivated faults.
The rock strata dip gently to the east, the oldest rocks are found in the west of the site, with progressively younger strata outcropping to the east. Together the succession reveals a complete, classic and well-studied section through the Wessex basin, one of the best Mezozoic-Tertiary intra-plate sedimentary basins in Europe.
The Triassic succession displayed within the nominated site extends approximately 35 km along the coast, from Orcombe Rocks near Exmouth to Seven Rock Point, west of Lyme Regis and reflects over 50 million years of a major stage in the Earth's history. It is over 1,100 m thick and comprises Aylesbeare Mudstone, Sherwood Sandstone, Mercia Mudstone and Penarth groups, and the lowest beds of the Lias Group.
The succession of Jurassic rocks displayed between Lyme Regis to Swanage, are considered to be one of the finest sections of marine Jurassic rocks anywhere in the world. It comprises large-scale repeated cycles of clay, sandstone and limestone that contain internationally renowned numbers and important vertebrate fossils. Such cycles correspond to global sea level rise, flooding a desert landscape that existed during the Triassic Period. For most of the Jurassic, tropical seas covered Dorset and marine life flourished. Subsidence and sea level change created deep-water environments in which muds and shales settled and shallow seas in which sands and limestones accumulated.
The Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary has yet to be internationally defined, however in Dorset it is believed to be near the base of the Purbeck group. All stages of the Cretaceous are represented, with the exception of the uppermost part of the Campanian and the Maestrichtian, the youngest of the Cretaceous stage. They include thinly bedded limestones and mudstones of the Purbeck group, the Wealdon Group, Lower Greensand, Gault Clay and Upper Greensand and the Chalk Group. Folds and faults buckle and cut through the Jurassic and Cretaceous strata to form spectacular features such as the Lulworth Crumple. Dome shaped folds and fractures within the rocks have created traps for oil that originated in the thick layers of clay found in both the Lower and Upper Jurassic rocks. Such structures exist beneath Poole Harbour and Poole Bay where they form the Wytch Farm oil field, Britain's largest onshore source of oil.
Much of the site displays a spectacular example of a geological unconformity, concordant and discordant coastlines exist, allowing for varied erosional landforms to be created. A variety of landslides have developed along the nominated coastline, due to the wide range of strata and different rock combinations of the area. The most significant landslips are Bindon Landslip, located between Axemouth and Lyme Regis, Black Ven, East Weares and Kings Pier. Several of these landslips are of European or national significance.
Studies of the coast provide one of the most well documented analyses of beach formation and the evolution of a retreating coastline. There are many small beaches within the site, however the two largest, classic sites are Budleigh Salterton and Chesil Beach. Budleigh Salterton beach is composed of pebbles formed from the erosion of Triassic fluvial sand and gravel pebble beds. These pebbles are found in beaches stretching along the south coast of England, and act as a diagnostic marker of beach evolution in the English Channel during the Holocene. Chesil Beach, stretches from West Bay to Portland, and is one of the finest and best-studied beaches in the world. Measuring 28 km long and ranging in height from 5 m-15 m and width of 200 m-50 m, it is famous for its volume, type and grading of pebbles. It is believed to comprise 100 million tons of material ranging in size from sand and pea gravel at Bridport to 5.0-7.5 cm cobbles at Chesilton. Approximately 98.5% of the pebbles are flints and cherts, the remainder are composed of limestones, vein quartz, porphyry, igneous materials and quartzites.
The Fleet lagoon is enclosed by Chesil Beach. Covering an area of 480 ha with an average depth of 0.3-3.0 m, it is one of the most important saline lagoons in Europe. Sediments preserved in its waters provide information on the late Holocene evolution of the beach, sea level change and climate and vegetation change. Together Chesil beach and the Fleet represent an outstanding example of a barrier beach and lagoon system, protected by several European and national designations. The Isle of Purbeck displays extremely well developed coastal landforms from discordant and concordant coasts. They include cave-bay sequences, and textbook examples of bays, stacks and rock arches at Lulworth Cove, Durdle Door and Old Harry Rocks.
Portland Bill displays two examples of Pleistocene raised beach deposits. The fossil fauna of the East Beach is the most diverse found in any British raised beach and is the best example of a raised beach sequence along the English Channel coast.
The nominated site includes a range of internationally important fossil]localities that provide excellent evidence of life during Mesozoic times. Key fossil sites include Lyme Regis, Kimmeridge Bay, the Isle of Portland, Isle of Purbeck, High Peak, Otter Point, Furzy Cliff near Weymouth, Charmouth, and Axmouth. Numerous vertebrate, invertebrate and plant fossils have been discovered, as well as fossil footprints and tracks that are found in the quarries around Swanage. The Jurassic fossil fauna within the nominated area is considered to be the some of the most abundant and diverse of anywhere in the world. Discoveries continue to be made on a regular basis as the cliffs of the site continue to erode. Specimen quality is frequently exceptionally, with well-articulated skeletons and soft-part preservation of features such as skin and stomach contents.
Examples of significant paleontology discoveries not known from anywhere else include Dimorphodon macronyx, one of the earliest flying reptiles and Scelidosaurus harrisoni "the Charmouth Dinosaur". Important marine reptile fauna includes Temnodontosaurus, ichthyosaurs, Metriacanthosaurus parkeri, and pterosaurs. The Dorset and East Devon Coast has long been famous as a rich source of ammonites such as Asteroceras obtusum, Parkinsonia parkinsoni and Titanites anguiformis. These are examples of ammonites that have been used to zone the Jurassic. Other examples of invertebrate fossils include gastropods and belemnites.
In addition exceptionally well preserved remains of a late Jurassic fossil forest, estimated to be over 140 million years old, are exposed on the Isle of Portland and the Purbeck coast. Considered to be one of the most complete fossil forests of any age, many of the trees are preserved in situ with soils and pollen. The remains indicate that the trees were up to 10 m in height and 1m in diameter. Additionally they display well-preserved growth rings indicating that the climate of the time was Mediterranean in character.
The area experiences a temperate Atlantic climate.
A variety of important coastal habitats occur within the nominated area that support several rare species. They include the landslipped cliffs and cliff-top grasslands of West Dorset, the occurrence of the rare purple gromwell Lithosperum purpureocaeruleum between the River Sid and Seaton Hole and coastal ash woodland Fraxinus excelsior located between Axmouth and Lyme Regis Undercliffs. This latter habitat is an example of one of the best naturally regenerated woodland areas in Britain. Other nationally important terrestrial vegetation species include the early spider orchid Ophrys sphegodes, the Early Gentian Gentianella anglica, the Nottingham catchfly Silene nutans and Wild cabbage Brassica oleracea var. oleracea
Important marine species comprise Portland rock sea lavendar Limonium recurvum portlandicum, extensive populations of two species of eelgrass, Zostera spp. and three species of tasselweed, Ruppia spp. including the rare spiral tasselweed R. cirrhosa. Additionally Chesil Beach supports the most extensive occurrences of the rare sea kale Crambe maritima and sea pea Lathyrus japonicus in the UK.
The coastline of the nominated site is rich in wildlife. Specifically the Exe Estuary Special Protected Area (SPA) and Ramsar Site supports over 20,000 wildfowl in the winter months, including the internationally important populations of avocet Recurvirostra avosetta, dark-bellied brent goose Branta bernicla bernicla and the slavonian grebe, Podiceps auritus. The Sidmouth to Beer Coast SSSI supports the most westerly example of species-rich grassland in England and a diverse invertebrate fauna including the nationally scarce rufous grasshopper Gomphocerippus rufu. Chesil and the Fleet SPA and Ramsar site supports fifteen specialist lagoon species, more than any other UK site. Additionally Chesil Bank is a breeding site for little tern Sterna albifrons and is an over-wintering site for a variety of waterfowl and wading birds. Lulworth Skipper butterfly Thymelicus acteon.
The marine wildlife of the area has been identified as non-statutory Sensitive Marine Areas by English Nature. Lyme Bay Sensitive Marine Area contains a number of reefs that form one of the most easterly locations for a number of Mediterranean-Atlantic species, such as the pink seafan, Eunicella verrucos. This species is found in high densities along with a very rich epifauna, including a high diversity of sponges. The Saw-tooth Ledges are one of only a few sites in Great Britain where the sunset star coral, Leptopsammia pruvoti, has been found. Portland Harbour contains numerous mud flats dominated by the fragile sea pen, Virgularia mirabilis. A semi-resident population of bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, is present at Dulston.
The cultural heritage of the site relates to the influence of the local geology of the area on the pattern and settlement and past uses of the coast. The nominated site contains numerous nationally protected archaeological and historic sites often related to man's utilization of the sea and exploitation of rocks and minerals. Many of these sites lie outside the boundary of the nominated area, however they play an important role in understanding the importance of the site.
The Mesolithic people of Portland (8,000-4,000 BC), are believed to be the first hunter-gathers that inhabited the area. Evidence of Bronze Age inhabitants (2,000-700 BC) living along the East Devon and Dorset Coast is illustrated in the form of ancient "barrows", located a little inland from the boundary of the site. This is further supported by the discovery of Bronze Age artifacts, such as a sword found in Weymouth harbor. Iron Age hill forts (700BC - 43AD) were also built along the coast, many of which are still in evidence. They include Sidbury Castle near Sidmouth, Hawkesdown Hill at Axmouth, Abbotsbury Castle and Fowers Barrow at Worbarrow Bay. There is also evidence of Roman and Medieval settlements along the coast.
The nominated area has a long history of mineral extraction, stretching from the Mesolithic to the present day. Kimmeridge Shale was first exploited during the Bronze Age (2,000-700 BC), while local stone and marble has been quarried in many instances since Roman times, primarily focusing on Beer, Purbeck and Portland. Stone from these areas has been used to construct many buildings throughout the United Kingdom.
The nominated area has had a significant influence on internationally well known writers and artists who have written about or painted the area. They include Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Llewlyn Powys, John Fowles, John Constable and J.M.W. Turner.
Local Human Population
The population of the coastal towns and villages surrounding the nominated site is estimated to be 166,313. The nominated area itself is relatively uninhabited, although a few properties lie within it, including a number of seasonally occupied beach huts at Lyme Regis, West Weares and Church Ope Cove on Portland, and holiday chalets at Branscombe Mouth and to the east of Salcombe Regis at Weston Mouth. A total of 10 inhabitants permanently live within the nominated site.
Visitors and Visitor Facilities
The nominated site has long been associated with tourism, first becoming a popular destination during the eighteenth century. Access to the site is good, with adequate transport links from London and more local passenger terminals at the ports of Poole, Weymouth, Portland and Plymouth and international airports at Bournemouth, Southampton, Exeter and Plymouth.
The coasts of Dorset and Devon are very well visited, with total annual visited estimated to be in excess of 14 million within the nominated site and the adjacent coastal areas as a whole. Day trip visits to the site appear to be more popular than over night visits. Visits by international visitors are increasing as are out of season, "off-peak" weekend holidays to the area.
The sight is well served by a number of well developed and professionally managed information centers, museums, accommodation, roads and public transport. Although there are no car parks within the nominated sites, adequate facilities are located close to the property within gateway towns and villages. Access to beaches and cliff-tops within the site is via public rights of way and permissive paths. One major route is the South-West Coastal Path, one of 13 Nationally designated trails in the United Kingdom. Public access to the site is limited on Ministry of Defence (MOD) land, which consists of the 3,000ha Armour School Gunnery Ranges at Lulworth. Despite this there are several way-marked range walks that are open for over 130 days per year, including 90% of weekends and the main UK public and school holidays.
Other facilities include the Maritime and Coastguard Agency marine search and rescue centre at Portland and Coastguard teams at Swanage, Kimmeridge, Wyke Regis, Weymouth, Lyme Regis, Sidmouth and Exmouth.
Scientific Research and Facilities
The geology and geomorphology of the East Devon and Dorset coast has a long history of scientific research and extensive study (over 300 years). Many early Earth Sciences theories were first developed along the Dorset coast, whilst the fossils, particularly from the Lyme Regis area, provided the early clues that fuelled the debate between creation and evolution.
Several divisions of geological time used to describe rocks of a certain age, derive their name from locations in Dorset. Specifically Dorset localities have provided the names for internationally recognized stages for the Mesozoic. The 'Kimmeridgian' stage is perhaps the best known and this term is applied throughout the world to classify rocks of the same age as those at Kimmeridge. Other stages with Dorset names include the Portlandian Stage and Purbeckian Stage.
A number of local people have played key roles in the development of the history of geological science; none more so than Mary Anning who discovered and extracted the first complete fossil specimens of marine reptiles, ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs and the first British pterodactyl from the beaches of Lyme Regis. Anning worked with the leading scientists of the day, including Henry De la Beche, who became the first director of the Geological Survey for Great Britain, and the Rev. William Buckland who became the first professor of Geology at Oxford University. Other important scientists who have become world renowned for their knowledge and scientific discoveries in the area include Sir Richard Owen, Georges Cuvier and Sir Everard Home.
The earliest geological mapping of the coast dates from the 1820s. The area has been thoroughly remapped by the British Geological Survey, since 1995, a new series of detailed modern maps will be published in 2000 and 2001. There is also an exceptional sub-surface database as a result of onshore and offshore oil exploration since the 1930s. Combined with easy access to the site, and a wide range of visitor facilities, the area is an exceptional teaching and training resource for all levels of study. Over 200,000 residential educational visitors visit the area annually. The area is also particularly important as a training ground for petroleum geologists, as the rock succession presents a complete section through an oil basin. Leading edge graduate and Post-doctoral earth science research continues within the nominated area today.
The landforms of the Dorset and East Devon Coast illustrate many classic landforms created by coastal erosion and accretion. Combined with varied geological exposures these features have created extended stretches of aesthetically attractive coastline that have been an inspiration to writers and artists throughout the world.
The Dorset and East Devon Coast is currently extensively protected by a variety of conservation designations, and existing land use and management plans. Additionally, a management plan for the nominated site has been prepared, co-ordinated by Dorset and Devon County Councils, with advice from a Steering Group (World Heritage Steering Committee and the World Heritage Technical Working Group). The plan has undergone wide public consultation and comprises six prime objectives: to conserve the geology and geomorphology of the area; to conserve and enhance where appropriate the quality of the landscape and seascape of the nominated area; to welcome local people and visitors to the nominated site at levels it can sustain; to encourage the safe use of the nominated site by educational groups of all ages, and to provide a high quality range of educational information and services about the site; to ensure that World Heritage Status if granted, will be used responsibly in all aspects of publicity in relation to the Dorset and East Devon Coast and Assist in the wider sustainable development objectives within Devon and East Dorset.
Management plans for existing areas that comprise the nominated area are extensive and numerous. They include statutory development plans prepared by local authorities, structure plans that provide strategic guidance for development of the area over the next 10-15 years (for Dorset and Devon), local plans prepared by District Councils that look at planning at a detailed local level and mineral and waste plans submitted by Dorset and Devon County Council. The latter plans set out the policies that control the extraction, transport and processing of mineral resources on shore and disposing of waste materials.
In 1998 three shoreline management plans (the Lyme Bay and South Devon, Portland Bill to Furlstone Head, and Poole and Christchurch Bays Shoreline Management Plans) establish the strategic coastal defense policies for the whole of the nominated site and surrounding coastline. Local Environment Agency Plans (LEAPs) are produced by the Environment Agency, setting out action to improve water environments of rivers and near shore areas. Five LEAPs for rivers and their catchments within the nominated area have been prepared.
Several other landowners within the nominated site have also implemented management plans. They include the National Trust who maintains plans to guide the management of its land holdings dealing with issues such as wildlife, landscape, interpretation, education and public access. Plans for Studland and Purbeck were due to be completed in 2000, plans for West Dorset will be updated in 2000-2001. All areas owned by the National Trust within the nominated area are inalienable; they will remain in the hands of the organization in perpetuity for the benefit of the public.
Dorset and Devon Wildlife Trusts own wildlife reserves at Weston Mouth and the Otter Estuary (Devon) and at West Bexington and Kimmeridge (Dorset) all have management plans. Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs National Nature Reserve (NNR), which lies wholly within the nominated World Heritage Area has a management plan prepared in 1998 for the site. Areas owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) have also implemented nature conservation management plans.
Practical countryside management in the East Devon AONB is undertaken by East Devon Heritage Coast Service and District Council staff. Landscape projects include a major footpath and bridleway improvement program, establishing a network of cycle routes, tree planting and hedge laying, heathland management and survey and maintenance work on the coastal National Trail. The Heritage Coast Service promotes Countryside Stewardship and has established a number of hedgerow and orchard agreements.
Jurassic Coast Strategy (1999) produced as part of the Jurassic Coast Project, identifies the priorities for action related to Earth Science Conservation, interpretation, education and tourism. South west Coast Path strategy guides the management promotion and conservation of the path and the coastal corridor through which it passes. The Dorset Coast Strategy aims to improve the planning and management of the Dorset Coast, as agreed by the Dorset Coast Forum.
Dorset and Devon County Councils have also prepared plans for the clearance of coastal pollution. Additionally, with the exception of Purbeck, oil pollution response plans have been prepared by all District Councils in the nominated area. Weymouth and Portland Harbour authorities have also prepared such plans, as required under International Law.
The large number of visitors to the site have resulted in pressures on the site. Visits are primarily focused on the summer months, however numbers at other times of the year continue to increase annually. There is a need to continue pro-active approach to visitor management. Vegetation and path erosion as well as wildlife disturbance are the primary impacts to the site at present.
Proposed ship-to-ship oil transfer within UK territorial waters in Lyme Bay could pose a significant pollution risk to the area. There are two areas within the nominated site (Portland and Charlton Bay) that lie in areas where permissions for mineral extraction has been granted.
Many people are employed by the variety of landowners and partners responsible for the management of the nominated area. No exact figures are provided, however over 40 wardens and rangers are currently employed by Devon and Dorset County Councils, English Nature, East Devon District Council, Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, the National Trust, Purbeck District Council, Ilchester Estate, Lulworth Estate and Dorset Wildlife Trust. The creation of two further positions (a geological coordinator and a sustainable tourism officer), in Dorset and Devon is envisaged if World Heritage Status is awarded to the nominated site.
Funding for the areas within the nominated site is currently on a partnership basis. An estimated £505,200 is provided for staff budgets for those employees working in the nominated area at present. This figure does not take into account those additional professional staff indirectly involved in site management (planners, tourism officers, staff within local government offices, transport managers, coastal engineers and land agents).
IUCN Management Category
- East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
- Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
- East Devon Heritage Coast V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
- Purbeck Heritage Coast V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
- Axmouth-lyme Regis Undercliffs National Nature Reserve IV (Habitat/Species Management Area)
- Natural World Heritage Site - Criteria i
- Anon. 2000. Nomination of the Dorset and East Devon Coast for inclusion in the World Heritage List. Dorset and Devon County Council.
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- Arkell, W.J. 1956. Jurassic Geology of the World. xv + 806 pp. 46 pls. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
- Benton, M.J. 1997. The Triassic reptiles from Devon. Proceedings of the Usher Society, 9, 141-152.
- British Geological Survey. 1988. Wessex Basin Project. [A descriptive note for an exhibition.] Br. Geological Surv.
- Brunsden, D. and Goudie, A. 1997. Classic Landforms of the West Dorset Coast. The Geographical Association, Sheffield. ISBN: 189908519X
- Calloman, J.H. and Cope J.C.W. 1995. The Jurassic Geology of Dorset. In: Taylor, P.D. Field Geology of the British Jurassic. ISBN: 1897799411
- Geological Society pp. 51-103.
- Cope, J.C.W. 1974. Upper Kimmeridgian ammonite faunas of the Wash area and a subzonal scheme for the lower part of the Upper Kimmeridgian. Bull. Geological Surv. GB. 47.
- Cope, J.C.W, Getty, T.A., Howarth, M.K., Morton, N. & Torrens, H.S. 1980. A correlation of Jurassic rocks in the British Isles. 1. Introduction and Lower Jurassic. Geological Society London Spec. Rept. 14.
- Countryside Commission. 1993. The Dorset Downs, Heaths and Coast Landscape: An Assessment of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Countryside Commission, Northampton.
- Countryside Commission. 1993. The East Devon Landscape. Countryside Commission, Northampton. ISBN: 0861704118
- East Devon AONB Joint Advisory Group. 1998. Making the Landscape Work: The East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Draft Management Plan. East Devon AONB Joint Advisory Group.
- Francis, J.E. 1983. The fossil forests of the basal Purbeck Formation (Upper Jurassic) of Dorset, southern England. PhD Southampton.
- Freeman, E.F. 1976. A mammalian fossil from the Forest Marble (Middle Jurassic) of Dorset. Proceedings of the Geological Association 87 (2), 231-5.
- Purbeck District Council. 1995. Keeping Purbeck Special: A Strategy for the Purbeck Heritage Area. Purbeck District Council, Wareham, Dorset.
- Townley, R. , Derrien, D.and Burgess, R. 1996. The West Dorset Heritage Coast, Today and Tomorrow. Issues Facing the West Dorset Heritage Coast - A Report for Consultation. Dorset County Council, Dorchester.
- Underhill, J.R. 1998. Development, Evolution and Petroleum Geology of the Wessex Basin. Geological Society Special Publication. No. 133, 420pp. The Geological Society, London.
- Underhill, J.R and Paterson, S. 1998. Genesis of tectonic inversion structures: seismic evidence for the development of key structures along the Purbeck-Isle of Wight Disturbance. Journal of the Geological Society, 155, 975-992.
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