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Summer at Durdle Door Dorset
Is Durdle Door dog-friendly? Yes, but to be avoided during busy times
Is there Wheelchair access? No
Are there facilities on the beach? No
Are there baby changing facilities? No
Is there a car park? Yes, it’s operated by Lulworth Estate with opening and closing times
Dorset is situated on the south coast of England facing the English Channel. It’s possibly more famous for its World Heritage Jurassic coastline, stretching 96 miles from East Devon to Dorset than anything else you know about Dorset.
Some of the most beautiful rocks, cliffs, bays, coves, are accessible to the public and their dogs including Durdle Door, all year round, without restrictions.
But would you want to take your dog in the height of summer to this magnificent beach?
It’s a pebbly, shingle and part sandy cove that is flanked on all sides by cliffs where the only access is by 134 steps and a further 15 minutes or so, walks from the car park. Your dog must be healthy and active to manage those steps down and back up as they are the only access to this beach. During busy times, you will have to wait to join the queue to walk down, so your dog needs to be patient and really kept on a lead until all the way down the steps and on the beach.
As soon as the sun shines during peak times, Easter, bank holidays, and summer weekends, the car park run by Lulworth Estate becomes full by mid-morning and the beach becomes restricted to more visitors due to its enclosed size. One cannot see the beach from the car park so you are not aware visually of how packed it may actually be. The car park opens at 9 am summer months and operates until 9 pm making a fabulous long day to be enjoyed on the beach, but this possibility is too long for your pet in new conditions.
Dogs can become anxious in strange environments and irritable in hot conditions, just like humans, so you need to consider if it would be wise to take your pet with you for the day.
NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET IN A HOT CAR – EVEN FOR A MINUTE
Before you set off making any special journey, it’s important to check the news for road updates as these can become blocked with heavy traffic and social media latest news about the beach.
One needs to take everything with you for the time you’ve planned to spend on the beach and be able to carry this down the many steps.
Walking Down To Durdle Door Beach
There’s no natural shade so it’s important to take shade such as umbrellas and dog canopies to ensure your dog doesn’t suffer from sunburn along with plenty of freshwater supply for both you and your pet and a collapsible bowl.
There aren’t any facilities on the beach including a cafe or even public rubbish disposal and dog poop dustbins. Visitors must take all rubbish back to the car park where there are bins.
The backdrop is the famed Jurassic rocks that form the Dorset coastline, and one has to be extremely careful not to walk directly under cliffs at any of our UK coastal areas at any time and at Durdle Door, to particularly not sit close up to them as rockfall can happen anytime.
When walking into the sea, you’ll find that it becomes deep very quickly, due to a steep shelving seabed. Whilst this limits a huge high and low tidal range coming in and out of the cove area, it is very dangerous for those who are not confident swimmers and your dog.
Practising social distancing due to the recent pandemic can be difficult but should be maintained.
When is the best time to visit Durdle Door?
We would thoroughly recommend you visit with your dog anytime between 1 October and 1 April but car park closure times become earlier.
We would recommend that during warmer, summer months, picking the days that may be less sunny and weekdays are more suitable, except during the high, holiday season, during school holidays when we’d give it a thumbs down.
Whilst there are no restrictions for dogs at any time of the year, the practicalities of enjoying a long day out are difficult.
Dogs may react in a different way when confronted with new, noisier, and busy environments and can act totally out of character. One would need to take a lead and even a muzzle for those dogs that can be prone to snap. Visitors can ask you to put your dog on a lead if they feel concerned or have a young family sitting nearby and that really isn’t fun for you or your dog when trying to enjoy a lovely day out.
Pictures courtesy Dorset Echo and Visit Dorset
There are local vets should any emergency arise situated at Weymouth, Dorset, Wool, and Wareham, the nearest just over 3 miles away.
The lifeguard service doesn’t support this beach but there is a lifeboat rescue service nearby stationed at Weymouth in case of emergencies. Do take time to refresh yourself with water safety tips on the RNLI website.
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