A trip to Worbarrow Bay is a fantastic day as you can combine a beautiful swim with a visit to the deserted village of Tyneham.
The villagers of Tyneham were given just 28 days notice to leave their houses in 1943 as the army wanted to use the land for training. The villagers believed that one day they would return but this has not happened and the buildings lay derelict. The church and school house have exhibitions and are really worth visiting - it's like stepping back in time. It's a pleasant 20 minute walk through from the car park at Tyneham to Worbarrow Bay. We visited in May and the young growth and bluebells made a stunning display with the wild garlic giving the air a pungent aroma.
Worbarrow Bay and Worbarrow Tout Swims
The eastern end of the beach is shingle and sand which affords easy access to the water. Further west the beach is comprised of larger shingle and shelves steeply. The safest swimming is under the shelter of the headland known as Worbarrow Tout. We swam right around the Tout and into Pondfield Cove. It's a beautiful swim of around 1600m return with lots to see. Although I didn't try it that day it's probably a great snorkelling spot too. I later swam along the beach towards the west; a challenging but beautiful swim along this almost deserted stretch of the Jurassic Coast.
It's best to choose a calm day and swim in a group. Always follow normal safety procedures and have someone on the beach in case of problems. Make sure you know the weather forecast and tide times. If you're swimming around the Tout, waves smashing into the cliff tend to bounce back creating a confused sea and it's best suited to strong confidant swimmers. An onshore wind will quickly produce swell and the Bay can become rough quite quickly.
Park at Tyneham Village. Car parking charges are a suggested donation of £2. Then follow the signposted route to Worbarrow Bay, it's just under a mile and an easy walk and just about do-able with a pushchair. Stay on the path as adjoining land is used for military training. I'm not sure that the army has been sanctioned to use anti-personnel mines against ramblers but it's better to be safe than sorry.
Time Your Visit!
Worbarrow Bay is open to the public when the Lulworth Military Ranges are open. This is usually at the weekends and public holidays but it's important, so check the range walk opening times.