Durdle Door

Durdle Door
Durdle Door, Dorset.

Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset, England.[1] It is privately owned by the Welds, a family who own 12,000 acres (50 km2) in Dorset in the name of the Lulworth Estate.[citation needed] It is open to the public. The name Durdle is derived from an Old English word 'thirl' meaning bore or drill.



Durdle Door from the east, across Man of War Bay beach.

The arch has formed on a concordant coastline where bands of rock run parallel to the shoreline.[citation needed] Here the rock strata are nearly vertical, and the bands of rock are quite narrow. Originally a band of resistant Portland limestone ran along the shore, the same band which can be seen one mile down the coast forming the narrow entrance to Lulworth Cove. Behind this is a 400-foot (120 m) band of weaker rocks which are easily eroded, and behind this is a stronger and much thicker band of chalk, which forms the Purbeck Hills.

The limestone and chalk are much closer together here than at Swanage, 10 miles (16 km) to the east, where the distance between them is over 2 miles (3 km).[citation needed] There are at least three reasons for this. First, the beds are highly inclined here, and more gently angled at Swanage. Secondly, some of the beds have been cut out by faulting at Durdle Door; and thirdly, the area around Durdle Door appears to have been unusually shallow, so a much thinner sequence of sediments were deposited here. At Durdle Bay all except a short stretch of the limestone has been completely eroded away by the sea and the remainder forms a small headland where it has protected the clay behind. At the western end this band of limestone has been eroded through, creating the natural arch. Some teams at UNESCO have been working on saving both the arch and the beach which resides by it.[citation needed]

The 400-foot (120 m) isthmus which joins the limestone to the chalk is made of a 50-metre (160 ft) band of Portland limestone, which is less resistant than the Purbeck beds, a narrow and compressed band of Cretaceous clays — Wealden Clay, sands and chert beds — and then narrow bands of Greensand and sandstone.[citation needed] In Man of War Bay, the small bay immediately east of Durdle Door the Portland stone has not been entirely eroded away, and at low tide the band of Portland stone is partially revealed.

In literature and popular culture

Music videos have been filmed at Durdle Door, including parts of Tears for Fears' Shout, Cliff Richard's 1990 Christmas number one Saviour's Day, Billy Ocean's Loverboy and Bruce Dickinson's Tears of the Dragon.[citation needed]

The third story in Ron Dawson's Amazing Adventures of Scary Bones the Skeleton series creates a magical myth of how Durdle Door came to be.[citation needed] In Scary Bones meets the Dinosaurs of the Jurassic Coast, the story's heroes meet an as yet undiscovered dinosaur called Durdle Doorus. At the end of the story Durdle Doorus is transformed into Durdle Door with the validity of the transformation demonstrated by an illustration and photograph.

The artwork inside the lyric booklet for Pink Floyd's The Division Bell includes a scene photographed at Durdle Door.[citation needed]

In Nanny McPhee, the children go for a picnic on the beach at Durdle Door.[citation needed]

Scenes from the film Wilde (1997) starring Stephen Fry were shot here.[citation needed]

Scenes from the film Far From The Madding Crowd (1967) were shot here, including at Scratchy Bottom.[2]

The album 'Sweet Tableax' by Oxford band Les Clochards features a track with the title 'Durdle Door'.

The Bull

The Bull (50°37′16″N 2°16′48″W / 50.6210°N 2.2801°W / 50.6210; -2.2801 (The Bull, Dorset)) is a rock that lies out to sea close to Durdle Door. It is a continuation of the rock strata that form Durdle Door itself.

See also


  1. ^ West, I.W., 2003. "Durdle Door; Geology of the Dorset Coast". Southampton University, UK. Version H.07.09.03.
  2. ^ "Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) — Filming locations". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061648/locations. Retrieved 2008-10-25. 

Further reading

  • Arkell, W.J., 1978. The Geology of the Country around Weymouth, Swanage, Corfe and Lulworth, 4th pr.. London: Geological Survey of Great Britain, HMSO.
  • Davies, G.M., 1956. A Geological Guide to the Dorset Coast, 2nd ed.. London: Adam & Charles Black.
  • Dawson,R, 2010. Scary Bones the Skeleton meets the Dinosaurs of the Jurassic Coast . Mulberry Tree Books.
  • Perkins, J.W., 1977. Geology Explained in Dorset. London: David & Charles.

External links

Flickr: Photos tagged with "Durdledoor"

Coordinates: 50°37′16″N 2°16′36″W / 50.62111°N 2.27667°W / 50.62111; -2.27667

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