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You are here > Things To Do > Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site Devon
Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site Devon
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Stunningly beautiful, the Jurassic Coast reveals the Earth's story in unique geology stretching back over 250 million years. It joined other natural wonders like the Great Barrier Reef in December 2001 when UNESCO awarded it World Heritage Status in recognition of this unique landscape. It is a fantastic journey through millions of years in rocks of the Jurassic period together with older Triassic and younger Cretaceous rocks.
Beginning at Exmouth's futuristic five metre high "geo-needle" at Orcombe Point, the startling rich red and burnt orange Triassic rock of Exmouth's cliffs were formed in scorching desert conditions millions of years ago. Other striking features along the coastline include unique quartzite Budleigh Salterton pebbles spilling from Budleigh's cliffs onto the beach below, and the dramatic rugged red rock stacks at Ladram Bay.
The red Triassic rock cliffs around Sidmouth have been scoured and sculpted into fantastic shapes, while to the east of Sidmouth the Cretaceous Upper Greensand layer known as Salcombe Stone has been used in a number of local buildings including Exeter Cathedral.
Glistening veins of gypsum can be seen in the tiny inlet of Weston Mouth, while at Beer you can see where the soft chalk has "folded", and also visit Beer Quarry Caves where a layer of particularly fine chalk composed of densely packed shell fragments has been worked since Roman times. Hardwearing and yet easily carved, Beer stone is highly prized by masons, and has been used in Westminster Abbey and Exeter Cathedral.
As well as its unique geology, much of the East Devon Jurassic Coast lies within the East Devon AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). It is a habitat for many rare and important plants, birds, and animals, and in the surrounding sea you may even spot dolphins and basking sharks.
For help on visiting and exploring the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, by bus, bike, foot, train and even boat. View our comprehensive map and Jurassic Coast explorer leaflet below.
A good way to explore the Jurassic Coast is to walk the South West Coast Path with stunning sea views, or you can take special boat trips that explore this exciting coastline such as the Stuart Line Cruises Jurassic Coast Cruise from Exmouth.
Download walking routes for free at www.southwestcoastpath.com. Search by location, distance and degree of difficulty (including routes suitable for pushchairs or mobility aids), or by interest, including wildlife, history and culture with a cafe or pub en route.