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Best locations for Snorkelling in South Dorset!

Nature enthusiasts are being urged to “go wet and wild” at South Dorset’s best sites for snorkelling.

Snorkelling in Dorset

Article by Planet Purbeck
Snorkelling at Kimmeridge Wild Seas Centre
With warmer weather approaching, a list of snorkelling hot spots has been compiled by the marine and freshwater team of community group Planet Purbeck.

Discover the 'amazing beauty' beneath the surface!

Doug Skinner, Planet Purbeck
Doug Skinner, Planet Purbeck

Planet Purbeck is a local group who aims to help protect and enhance what we have – if we look after Purbeck!

This summer they hope to encourage both local folk and tourists to discover the “amazing beauty” that lies beneath the surface of the sea.

Their list also gives an intriguing insight into the “breathtaking” creatures and plant life that may be found by those who take the plunge.

Planet Purbeck’s Doug Skinner said: “Much of the attention about wildlife, conservation and ecology tends to be concentrated on the land, which sometimes means our coastlines and seas get a little lost and left behind, as it were.

“We want to engage people with the sea and the amazing things that are going on in it.

“Despite all the problems connected with the sea, such as pollution and over-fishing, there is still a huge amount of beauty there to be enjoyed.”

Planet Purbeck would like to give special thanks to Maria Munn at The Ocean Studio for her time, guidance and expert knowledge during a snorkel experience in Swanage.

List of the best Snorkelling locations in South Dorset

Here is Planet Purbeck’s Go-Wet-And-Wild guide for this spring and summer…
Worbarrow Beach, Purbeck
Worbarrow Bay has two snorkelling sites

** Man O’War Cove. A favourite. Spectacular reef and in suitable conditions you can swim around the headland and through Durdle Door. Breathtaking and unforgettable. Read more about Durdle Door on our Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door page. 

** North Beach, Swanage, below the Grand Hotel. Numerous reefs with huge shoals of young fish; sandeels; wrasse; flatfish; crabs. Very accessible and great on a clear day but the longshore drift can be powerful and make it challenging to follow the reefs out.

** Kimmeridge Bay. Glorious plant life and marine invertebrates including coralline seaweeds and snakelocks anemones. Read more on our page about the Fine Foundation Wild Sea Centre in Kimmeridge

** Worbarrow Bay. Two sites here – near the Tout promontory, though watch out for spear fishermen, and Pondfield, a small rocky cove with caves. Read more about Worbarrow Bay on our Tyneham and Worbarrow Bay page. 

** Redend Point, Studland Bay. Pipefish, razor shells and several varieties of crab and fish amongst the headland rocks. Avoid weekends due to marine traffic. Read more about Studland on our Studland Bay and Beach page. 

** Boscombe. The offshore artificial reef has disappointed surfers but has been colonised by flora and fauna.

** Stair Hole, west of Lulworth Cove. Impressive submarine environment. On a quiet day species such as dogfish and lobster may be seen. Also Mupe Bay, east of Lulworth Cove.Read more about Lulworth Cove on our Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove page. 

** Seacombe. A little known spot featuring great caves and kelp forest.

** Dancing Ledge. A kelp forest and dramatic submarine landscape.

** Ringstead. Beautiful during clear conditions though not the best for wildlife.

** Frenchman’s Ledge, Osmington. Recommended by ecologists.

** Church Ope Cove, east Portland. Busy but interesting rocky coastline.

Safety is paramount!

Despite its encouragement for snorkelling, Planet Purbeck stresses that individuals keen to have a go must make their own assessments of conditions at each site and be responsible for their own swimming skills.

Mr Skinner said: “As in all aspects of life, safety is paramount.”

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