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Church Ope Cove, Isle of Portland

(5/5 based on 50+ reviews on the web)
Church Ope Cove is a small secluded beach on the sheltered eastern side of the Isle of Portland in Dorset, southern England. It is found close to the village of Wakeham. The beach has many unusual features for the Isle of Portland. The beach used to be sandy, but quarry debris now covers the sand, and has been worn into rounded pebbles. The pebbles cover a small stream which runs to the sea, which is one of the few active streams remaining on the Isle of Portland.HistoryIn 789 AD, the first recorded Viking attack within British Isles, including Ireland, occurred on Portland's coast. It is believed that Church Ope Cove was the location. The exposed location was later defended by the Norman 12th-century Rufus Castle, built on the cliff-top overlooking the beach. The remaining castle seen today dates from the late 15th-century. The cove's area was also used for the building of Portland's first parish church, St Andrews Church, which was probably first established above the cove by the Saxons.Between 1797-1800, John Penn, Governor of Portland and grandson of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, had the Gothic revival mansion Pennsylvania Castle built on a platform above the cove. During the early 19th-century he had a bath built below the gardens of his castle, known as John Penn's Bath. However, when it was completed, the Court Leet demanded an annual rent for its use after it was built on Common Land. Penn refused to pay, and the bath was abandoned, with the remains still in existence today. Penn's servants would have been tasked with bringing water up from the cove to the bath.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Nice little Cove, and very quiet. Lots of steps on way down some lovely little beach huts at bottom, well worth a visiting.  more »
  • Breathtaking can't wait to go again.. Pirates grave adds to the experience.. The walk back up is hard but worth it.. take a drink !!  more »
  • An awesome natural pebbles beached cove on the east side of Portland. Wander down from the free car park through the old church ruins. Check out the pirates graves before making your way down to the b...  more »