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Church Ope Cove, Isle of Portland
(5/5 based on 45+ 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
  • There are very steep steps to get to the cove but worth the walk. Also a great coastal path above it. 
  • a tricky but stunningly beautiful walk down through the forest and the ruins of an old graveyard leads you to Church Ope Cove and a lovely pebble beach. When we visited the cove was deserted, there ar...  more »
  • A Lovely hidden cove which u access down a steep coastal path . It feels very secluded and it's very picturesque , we walked up through the ruined 13th century church , and we also saw some pirate gra...  more »