Book review: Walking the West Jurassic Coast; and Walking the East Jurassic Coast, by Robert Westwood

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Jon Trevelyan (UK)

In recent years, the Jurassic Coast Trust really has produced some great books and I have had the privilege of reviewing quite a number of them in this magazine. These two companion books are intended as walking guides to the World Heritage Site – the so-called ‘Jurassic Coast’ and the first covers the western limb from Orcombe Point to the Fleet, while the second deals with the eastern part, from Portland to Studland.

Like all the Trust’s current crop of books, they are dominated by bold, full colour photographs of this wonderful coastline. And interspersing the photos is text, briefly but succinctly explaining the geology that a hiker will see as he or she tramps the public footpaths. While I would always recommend walking with (at the very least) an OS map, the guides cleverly mark the route to be taken with dotted white lines in the large aerial photographs, which provide both a clear route and a visual representation of the geology discussed in the text.

For each of the walks (there are 16 in one guide and 17 in the other), the guides provide details of the distance, estimate time, level of difficulty, total ascent made during the walk, the relevant OS map and the grid reference for the starting point. The walks are then described both generally and in more detail and, being small, the books can easily be carried in a map case or coat pocket.

Where there is interesting geology (where isn’t there any on this coastline?), the guides go into detail using text boxes and colour photographs. Therefore, the books more than adequately handle the fascinating geology of the area for anyone interested in the subject matter – from the red deserts of the Triassic, through the tropical seas of the Jurassic, the marshy braided rivers and dinosaurs of the Lower Cretaceous, to the algal blooms of the Upper Cretaceous chalk seas.

I can certainly say that these are excellent little holiday guides that should accompany anybody who is looking to explore this wonderful coastline, and I can’t recommend them enough.

Walking the West Jurassic Coast, by Robert Westwood, Coastal Publishing Wareham, Dorset (2010), 64 pages (paperback), ISBN: 978-0954484576

Walking the East Jurassic Coast, by Robert Westwood, Coastal Publishing Wareham, Dorset (2010), 64 pages (paperpack), ISBN: 978-0954484569

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