The Jurassic Coast begins in Exmouth, East Devon and winds its way 95 miles to Old Harry Rocks, near Swanage in Dorset. It is England’s only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As you can probably imagine, there is a lot to see if you start at one end and work your way to the other – in addition to rocks and fossils and unforgettable landforms, the Jurassic Coast is also home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna.
These are some of the best places for seeing wildlife on the Dorset stretch of the Jurassic Coast.
Durlston Country Park
A 320 acre nature reserve set above the town of Swanage, with meadows, woodland and sea cliffs.
The South West Coastal Path winds its way along the sea edge of Durlston Country Park and it’s very popular with walkers.
The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife and also draws bird watchers and butterfly enthusiasts from around the country. There are several walking trails and lookout points to watch guillemots, look out for a Lulworth Skipper, or even spot a dolphin if you’re lucky.
In the heart of Poole Harbour and accessible from Swanage by ferry via Sandbanks is Brownsea Island, a unique place for wildlife watching.
Home to some 200 red squirrels, it’s a haven for all the flora and fauna that thrives in the milder climate of Dorset.
This RSPB nature reserve tucked away on the Isle of Purbeck has to be on your list for wildlife watching. Watch the sika deer roam, listen out for warblers and nightjars, and observe the many different wading birds.
Also keep an eye out for wild samphire and other plant life native to Dorset. It can be a popular destination for visitors in the summer but Arne is a special place to visit at any time of year.
Check the local news for Swanage for what’s happening in all of these wonderful wildlife-rich destinations.