Improving ‘Rights of Way’ access links between the Wild Seas Centre and The Etches Collection in Kimmeridge
The project was awarded Wytch Farm Landscape and Access Enhancement Fund support of ‘match funding’ in 2020. The project was within the ‘Lowest Priority’ target area and met the ‘Access’ criteria of the funding.
This project aimed to meet the need of alleviating traffic and parking issues in and around Kimmeridge, whilst supporting sustainable (car-free) tourism in the bay and village.
Grant awarded: £20,000
Other sources of funding: In-Kind from Dorset Coast Forum, Dorset Wildlife Trust, Smedmore Estate
% of total project costs: 79%
This project was looking to meet the need of alleviating traffic and parking issues in and around Kimmeridge, whilst supporting sustainable (car-free) tourism in the bay and village. Whilst it would be unrealistic to expect all Kimmeridge’s visitors to arrive car-free, (the Southwest Coast Path crosses the bay and does bring in walking visitors), this project works on the ‘Park and Stride’ principle- encouraging people to park once in the right place, and then enjoy their day without their car.
- The project planned to:
Facilitate access to all of Kimmeridge’s attractions in both the village and the bay without the need to drive and park in several locations.
- Alleviate parking issues in Kimmeridge village by encouraging visitors to park at the bay.
- Make minor improvements in the main car park, principally to replace as needed the sleeper barriers at the front edge.
- Make physical improvements to footpaths which are boggy when wet, narrow or badly rutted/braided.
- Improve the visitor welcome with improved orientation and wayfinding signs which ‘nudge’ visitors towards discovering Kimmeridge on foot. This information and appropriate interpretation will also be provided in a ‘Destination Kimmeridge’ leaflet and family activity pack, available at each of the major stops in the Village and at the Wild Seas Centre.
- Improve visitors’ understanding of the area through telling Kimmeridge’s interpretative stories. Appropriate themes relating particularly to modern and ancient wildlife, the geological and paleontological stories of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site (in line with the WHS interpretation strategy) and Dorset AONB (and the reasons for discouraging fossil collecting here), water-based recreation and opportunities for walking the SWCP (including information about access across the MoD ranges), in subtle and appropriately interactive ways at key points.
- Path Improvements – Led by Dorset Council Greenspace Team
- Main Panel Interpretation – Led by Dorset AONB/Jurassic Coast Trust who coordinated the panel design, production and installation for two locations; one in the main car park in the re-surfaced area by Gaulters Gap and one on the wall of the toilet block in the smaller car park.
- Walking Trail Interpretation – Led by Dorset Wildlife Trust and Etches Collection. Designed and organised fabrication and delivery of 3 pairs of illustrations for 3 swing arm posts. One of each pair shows an extinct Kimmeridge species heading towards the Etches Collection in the village and the other a related existing species heading towards the Wild Seas Centre in the bay.
Also, to complete the works we are liaising with Smedmore Estate and DIO/Range Control to tidy up the remaining signage and remove the existing old stone plinth. As noted above the Dorset Council Greenspace Team can then clear the vegetation around the old plinth and install new fencing to secure the gap.
- Southwest Coast Path surfacing 280m
- 22m of surfacing along field edges
- Improved surfacing and drainage on the muddy sections of the path.
- Replaced wooden boards leading up to the bridge with limestone and a drain running under to reduce water flow, moving water coming off field into stream.
- Replaced step off a bridge with raising of land and levelling.
Installed a new non-slip bridge (4m long) and handrail (1.2m wide min).
- Designed & installed 7 new wayfinding fingerposts.
Installed 3 new interpretation swing arm posts.
- Surfaced and improved landscape around the Gaulters Gap end of the car park around the area of the new information panel (4x3m).
- Installation of x4 stone steps and new handrail at Gaulters Gap to improve first impression and access to the beach/South Coast Path.
- Vegetation cut back and installation of 3 rail fencing to replace the old plinths in the main car park by Gaulters Gap – this is still outstanding as waiting for Smedmore Estate to remove the old plinths.
- Main Interpretation Panels installed–one in the main car park in the re-surfaced area by Gaulters Gap and one on the wall of the toilet block in the smaller car park.
The new walking trail, signage and interpretation will provide visitors to Kimmeridge with an informed, attractive and safer welcome, whilst at the same time encouraging them to park at the bay and visit the village using the improved access instead of driving to the village. These improvements have achieved not only the aims of this project but also meets the key objectives of the Dorset Coastal Connections portfolio project by:
- Sustaining and developing the tourism economy
- Have thriving and dynamic coastal and maritime businesses to encourage economic growth
- Connecting the urban, rural and coastal communities across the Dorset coast
- Conserving, enhancing and promoting Dorset’s special natural and cultural assets
“It was a pleasure for Dorset Coast Forum to be part of this project which was made possible by partnership collaboration and support from the Wytch Farm Landscape and Access Enhancement Fund.”
Toni Powell, Dorset Coast Forum Co-ordinator
“The new walking trail provides an exciting opportunity for visitors to Kimmeridge to immerse themselves in the surrounding beauty of our countryside landscape and in linking both the Wild Seas Centre and The Etches Collection Museum, go ‘back in time’ to learn all about Kimmeridge’s ancient and modern marine wildlife.”
Carla Crook, The Etches Collection Fossil Museum
“Kimmeridge tells the extraordinary story of marine wildlife that lived here millions of years ago and whose relatives can still be found in the rock pools and shallows today. This new trail, along with exhibitions at the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre and Etches Collection Museum, explain that story and show visitors how to discover it for themselves.”
Julie Hatcher, The Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre, Dorset Wildlife Trust