Chapman’s Pool

Chapman’s Pool sits in the lee of St Aldhelm’s Head on Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck (not an island at all!). Backed by high cliffs this quiet little cove does present something of a challenge to get to. The nearest parking is a fair walk away in the direction of Worth Matravers and it is still a bit of a scramble down the rocks to reach the beach – although not quite as scary as it used to be.

Down in the cove are a couple of fisherman’s huts and a slipway. Local fishermen still use the shelter of the bay to launch from. One of the huts here was actually once a lifeboat house, although the service only ran between 1866 and 1880 as it proved somewhat impractical.

The horseshoe-shaped cove at Chapman’s was formed in the same way as that of the better-known Lulworth Cove along the coast. Thousands of years ago the sea broke through the harder Portland stone at the mouth of the cove and then quickly eroded the softer rock behind. Even today the landscape is in flux with land slips a regular feature.

Being part of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast Chapman’s Pool can be a good place to find fossils as well as admire the geology. Ammonites, reptiles and shell fossils are regularly found here, although care should be taken as the cliffs are unstable.

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The Walled Camping