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Old Harry Rocks, Swanage

4.9
#2 of 7 in Sightseeing in Isle of Purbeck
Landmark Tourist Spot
Old Harry Rocks are three chalk formations, including a stack and a stump, located at Handfast Point, on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, southern England. They mark the most easterly point of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.LocationOld Harry Rocks lies directly east of Studland, about 1.5 miles northeast of Swanage, and about 3 miles south of the large towns of Poole and Bournemouth. To the south are the chalk cliffs of Ballard Down, much of which is owned by the National Trust. The rocks can be viewed from the Dorset section of the South West Coast PathFormationThe chalk of Old Harry Rocks used to be part of a long stretch of chalk between Purbeck and the Isle of Wight, but remained as a headland after large parts of this seam were eroded away. As the headland suffered hydraulic action (a process in which air and water are forced into small cracks by the force of the sea, resulting in enlargening cracks), first caves, then arches formed. The tops of the arches collapsed after being weakened by rainfall and wind, leaving disconnected stacks. One of these stacks is known as Old Harry. Old Harry's Wife was another stack which was eroded through corrosion and abrasion, until the bottom was so weak the top fell away, leaving a stump. Hydraulic action is the main cause of erosion (sheer force of the wave) that damaged the rock and caused it to fall away.
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  • Excellent viewing. Great to see something natural like this - unmissable. It is worth the journey to see this!  more »
  • Plenty of parking, was a lovely walk seeing the history and the views. Toilets at the start there was a disabled lad in a wheelchair and he said it was accessible to him. Views were amazing. Dogs were...  more »
  • Short walk from a near by pub- no hills involved. Looks over Studland bay. Must go on a clear sunny day for nice pics.  more »