Gold Down is the western part of one of the most spectacular cliffs along the Jurassic Coast - Gad Cliff. This area lies within the MODís Lulworth Firing Range, but visitors are free to explore when the range walks are open to the public.
Gad Cliff is one of the most spectacular cliffs along the Jurassic Coastline, consisting of Purbeck Beds and Portland Limestone on top of Portland Sand over Kimmeridge Clay. Its jutting angles are evidence of the immense tectonic forces at work which effected so much of the geology around this part of Dorset when the continents of Africa and Europe collided around 30 million years ago, forming the Alps. This cliff section represents the most Northerly impact ripple from that event.
Coastal Visitor Centre
Kimmeridge Marine Centre
Town/Village or Area:
Tourist Info Centres
in this Area: Pink Sea Fans
Pink Sea Fans
The rocky seabed off Worbarrow Tout is the most easterly location along the south coast for colonies of a rare type of coral called the Pink Sea Fan. The slow growing coral is a protected species and individuals are being monitored by divers to learn more about their growth characteristics.
Interest: MOD Lulworth Firing Range and Walking, Tynham Village
Sheltering in the steep valley behind Gad Cliff is the village of Tynham. This was once a thriving community with its own school, church and Manor house. The 205 villagers willingly left their 102 properties when it was requisitioned for use as a military firing range and training area on the 19th December 1943.
But after the war, the village remained in MOD control and to this day, the village of Tynham lies derelict and deserted, locked in time within the MODís Lulworth firing range.
The village stretched for nearly a mile (1.5km) down to Worbarrow Bay, where the fisherman had their cottages, but all that remains of these are some walls and foundations.
The school room and church are the only intact buildings left in the village and are opened to visitors giving an interesting glimpse of life in the 1940ís.
MOD Lulworth Firing Range and Walking
The Lulworth Firing Range belongs to the Ministry of Defence. Everything from rifles, machine guns and tanks use the area which stretches along the coastline from Lulworth to Kimmeridge. Red flags fly when the area is in use, gates are locked and wardens patrol the area. There is a range patrol boat to guide shipping away from the danger areas and flying restrictions operate in the airspace overhead. The footpaths are cleared of any unexploded ordnance between the yellow markers, but occasionally unexploded shells can be washed up onto the beach. These are dangerous and should not be touched or moved. Contact the Range Wardens who will arrange the safe disposal of the offending item. It is worth mentioning that it is not uncommon for divers to see unexploded shells on the seabed. These should be left where they are and given a wide berth. The range walks and coast path are open most weekends and some weekdays, but more definite information can be obtained by contacting the Lulworth Firing Range Wardens on 01929 404819.