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Purbeck Coast

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Factsheet filled with data from European diploma data set

Site contact authorities

Information Dorset County Council County Hall Dorchester DT1 1XJ
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General character of the site Purbeck is a 40-kilometre stretch of coast on the English Channel between Weymouth and Bournemouth. The landscape is extremely diversified, with spectacular cliffs, dunes, islands and mesothermophilous meadows. It is subject to a wide variety of statutory controls operated by different bodies. 
Quality The Purbeck Coast is defined as 'Heritage Coast', and is part of the large Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It contains 3 major Heathland National Nature Reserves, and numerous Sites of Special Scientific Importance. 
Vulnerability A number of operative or planned gas and oil exploration sites are established within nature reserves. There are Ministry of Defence firing ranges; also leisure and recreation facilities, such as the Durdle Door camping site. 
Owner Mainly private, but with large estates owned by the National Trust, RSPB, and Ministry of Defence. 
Documentation Council of Europe (1984), Purbeck Heritage Coast, United Kingdom, Strasbourg, 20 p. 
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Geomorphology Of outstanding interest, centring on the famous Lulworth Cove and adjacent coastline. 
Educational interest The Purbeck Coast is well used by educational groups, particularly for its rich geological and geomorphologic interest. Visitor centres at Lulworth, Kimmeridge, Durlston and Studland are used by education groups as well as the public. 
Cultural heritage Purbeck's archaeological heritage is of outstanding interest, as evidence of human activity can be traced back for many thousand of years: Iron Age fortifications, Roman sites, Norman churches and villages with mediaeval houses. 
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