Dorset’s best snorkelling spots revealed in new Planet Purbeck guide

THE best snorkelling spots in south Dorset have been revealed in a new list.

Community group Plant Purbeck has put together the top spots for nature enthusiasts for a new Go Wet and Wild guide.

Members of the group’s marine and freshwater team collaborated to put the guide together, giving people the chance to savour the best of life below the waterline.

The list also gives people an insight into the creatures and plant life they ight encounter.

Planet Purbeck’s Doug Skinner said: “Much of the attention about wildlife, conservation and ecology tends to be concentrated on the land, which sometimes means our coastlines and seas get a little lost and left behind, as it were.

“We want to engage people with the sea and the amazing things that are going on in it.

“Despite all the problems connected with the sea, such as pollution and over-fishing, there is still a huge amount of beauty there to be enjoyed.”

Doug Skinner, of Planet Purbeck

Doug Skinner, of Planet Purbeck

The best Dorset snorkelling spots featured in the Planet Purbeck guide – and the experts’ notes – are:

  • Man O’War Cove: A favourite. Spectacular reef and in suitable conditions you can swim around the headland and through Durdle Door. Breathtaking and unforgettable.
  • North Beach, Swanage, below the Grand Hotel: Numerous reefs with huge shoals of young fish; sand eels; wrasse; flatfish; crabs. Very accessible and great on a clear day but the longshore drift can be powerful and make it challenging to follow the reefs out.
  • Kimmeridge Bay: Glorious plant life and marine invertebrates including coralline seaweeds and snakelocks anemones.
  • Worbarrow Bay: Two sites here – near the Tout promontory, though watch out for spear fishermen, and Pondfield, a small rocky cove with caves.
  • Redend Point, Studland Bay: Pipefish, razor shells and several varieties of crab and fish among the headland rocks. Avoid weekends due to marine traffic.
  • Boscombe: The offshore artificial reef has disappointed surfers but has been colonised by flora and fauna.
  • Stair Hole, west of Lulworth Cove: Impressive submarine environment. On a quiet day species such as dogfish and lobster may be seen. Also Mupe Bay, east of Lulworth Cove.
  • Seacombe: A little known spot featuring great caves and kelp forest.
  • Dancing Ledge: A kelp forest and dramatic submarine landscape.
  • Ringstead: Beautiful during clear conditions though not the best for wildlife.
  • Frenchman’s Ledge, Osmington: Recommended by ecologists.
  • Church Ope Cove, east Portland: Busy but interesting rocky coastline.

The Planet Purbeck experts reminded people to make their own assessments of conditions at each site and be responsible for their own swimming skills.

Mr Skinner, who will be among the speakers at a Rewilding Our Seas event during Planet Purbeck’s 2024 festival in September, said: “As in all aspects of life, safety is paramount.”

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