Old Harry Rocks in Dorset, on the South Coast of England, are three chalk formations off of Handfast Point—part of England’s Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site, a 95-mile stretch that extends from Dorset to East Devon.
Old Harry actually refers to the large single stack farthest out to sea. Old Harry had a couple rock “wives”; the first fell in 1509 and the second collapsed into the sea in 1896, leaving just a stump which is still visible.
Old Harry (and his wives) used to be part of a long chalk formation stretching east from Studland to the Isle of Wight. But over the centuries, the minerals have been eroded by sea and air, so that nothing remains but Old Harry Rocks. Eventually Old Harry himself will fall into the sea and be replaced by new stacks, the process overseen by the National Trust who owns the stacks in perpetuity. Photographs don’t do the views justice; it’s really something to see for yourself.
How to get there:
Old Harry Rocks are directly east of Studland, 1.5 miles Northeast of Swanage and about 3 miles south of the towns of Poole and Bournemouth. There are lots of car parks along the coast, most of which are free for National trust members.
What to consider
- Parking is free for National Trust members.
- You can walk the coast from Swanage or Studland—most people arrive from Studland (think more crowded).
- Go early or late for an otherworldly atmosphere.
- The landscape is flat so it’s an easy walk.
- You can also take a boat tour from Pool and see the formations from the water.