6 of the best secret beaches in Dorset
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Visit Dorset reveal their favourite lesser-known local beaches to explore if you want to get off the beaten track this summer.
Gundimore Beach, Mudeford
With splendid views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, Gundimore has a mixed sand and shingle beach that is easily accessible from Mudeford Quay and nearby Christchurch. To the East there is a pleasant walk through the Steamer Point Nature Reserve towards Highcliffe where you can visit the magnificent Gothic Revival style Highcliffe Castle and gardens.
South Beach, Studland
This sheltered beach offers a quieter alternative to the popular Studland beaches of Shell Bay and Knoll, and it has an outlook across the bay towards Bournemouth. Access the beach from the village of Studland by following the South West Coast Path towards the imposing chalk cliffs Handfast Point. For adventurous visitors, stay on the path for a rewarding hike to Handfast Point and take in the spectacular chalk stacks of Old Harry Rocks, that mark the most easterly point of the Jurassic Coast.
A beautiful wild beach in a secluded bay is the reward for those who are prepared for a moderately challenging walk from the nearby village of Worth Matravers. The path can be steep and sometimes slippery, so exercise caution as you descend down to the beach, or simply take in the view from the South West Coast Path. A pleasant 5 mile circular walk taking in the enchanting old quarries at Winspit makes for a great day out; topped off with refreshments and a nosey around the fossil museum at the unique Square and Compass pub in Worth Matravers.
Worbarrow Bay welcomes visitors with a expansive shingle beach and an interesting story at nearby Tyneham. The village was requisitioned for military training ahead of World War Two and the remnants of the village now remain within the Ministry of Defence firing ranges, therefore access is limited at certain times of the year. Park up and explore remains of Tyneham village, before taking the pleasant stroll for a mile and a half down to the beach.
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Church Ope Cove
A genuine smugglers cove that is believed to be the landing site of the first ever Viking raids on the British Isles, Church Ope is situated beneath the ruins of Rufus Castle on the sheltered eastern side of Portland. Offering sanctuary from the prevailing wind and opportunities for swimming, snorkelling and fishing; the beach is accessed from steps that lead down from Rufus Castle, a short walk from Portland Museum.
This lesser known stretch of the epic 18 mile Chesil Beach, affords dazzling views east towards Portland and west towards the Golden Cap and Lyme Regis on a clear day. The fine shingle beach is owned by the National Trust, who provide the parking (free to members), and it is also served by the amazing X53 Jurassic Coaster bus service, which stops near to the footpath leading down the beach.
This article was updated by Martha Griffiths in May 2021.