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Church Ope Cove, Isle of Portland

Categories: Wildlife Areas, Beaches, Nature & Parks, Outdoor Activities
Inspirock Rating:
5/5 based on 40+ 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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  • Its a bit of a hike down steep steps from the village, but very worth it. Its a lovely rocky cove with quaint beach huts. Remote and peaceful 
  • Lovely secluded cove with pebble beach. The walk down comprise many steps (more than 100) and might not be accessible to everyone. On the way down on the right there is the ruins of a church where you...  read more »
  • This is Portland's only official Beach, and if you like a bit of a walk it's perfect. You have to park on the road and saunder down a quiet lane past the Portland museum to the top of the steps over l...  read more »
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