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Lulworth Cove dive site  - Courtesy of Dan Begent

Lulworth Cove dive site  - Courtesy of Dan Begent

Scuba Diving South Coast England, UK, Europe

Dive Site: Lulworth Cove

Location: West Lulworth, Dorset

Description: Reef

Depth: 5 metres (15 feet)

Visibility: 5 metres (15 feet)

Rating: **

This is very shallow, but quite a picturesque and enjoyable dive that would make a good introduction to diving. There is a lot of life including blennies, flat fish and much seaweed and kelp.

Reader Reviews:

Lulworth Cove – June 08

Lulworth is a small enclosed cove on the Dorset coast between Swanage and Weymouth, it is a pebbly beach with a maximum depth of 7-9 metres depending on the tide (really good for new divers). There is a sandy / rocky bottom with lots of vegetation, kelp weed etc.

On the surface, there is a wide beach, plenty of space for divers and kit, with toilets on the road about 100m from the beach and a café that serves a variety of hot and cold food and drinks, they ask you to order from the hatch if you are in wet kit.

The Road down to the Cove is only accessible before 10am and after 6pm to drop kit off; there is a car park at the top of the road which is £5 per day.

The diving is great in my opinion, quite a variety of life, crabs, lobsters, pipefish, wrasse, gobies, blennies and many other fish. There a few different bottom composites depending where in the cove you are, on the east side (the left as you look from the beach) it is more of a sandy bottom, on the west is a lot of Kelp.

The bay is fairly easy to navigate, and just head North, or North West to get back to the beach, and if in doubt you are normally no deeper than 5-7m so you can pop up and check which way to go (looking out for boats before you put your head out of the water), the area you do have to be careful of is the mouth of the cove as if you go out into the main sea there are strong currents that will pull you down the coastline.

You do get a halocline (haze where fresh and salt water mixes) in some areas of the cove as there is a fresh stream running into it but the visibility on the day we dived was good, and water temp was around 15°C (Outside temperature would estimate between 20 -25°C).

SMBs are a must in the cove as there is quite a bit of boat traffic, it is easiest to inflate the SMB before you enter the water. You have to take care with other lines as there are quite a few moored boats that have anchor chains etc that the SMB can be caught on.

You have to enter and exit from the beach, a bit of care needed here as it’s fairly rocky especially on the west side (the right hand side as you look from the beach) of the cove.

This is a site for all the family as non divers can sit on the beach and visit the small shops on the cove road, not so sure how pleasant it would be if the weather wasn’t nice.

There is a variety of Accommodation on the road to the cove if you wish to stay the night; there is The Castle Inn, Lulworth Beach Hotel and others are available.

How to get there:

Lulworth Cove and West Lulworth are sign posted from the A352 Dorchester - Wareham road. Follow the B3070 through West Lulworth.

Tara Scarlata

In John Howland's Treasure from British Waters (Ram Books, p.71) it mentions fifteen gold coins (either French or Portuguese), found in Lulworth Cove. Several years ago I went to Lulworth on a metal detecting club visit, where I know of one person finding a gold coin in the fissures in the chalk at the back of the cove. One other person I know of found six coins after a particularly stormy day. He declared these to the coroner, so there should be records of these; this was probably about ten years ago. There doesn't seem to be any records of any shipwrecks in Lulworth Cove or nearby, dating to the 16th/17th centuries, when the coins appear to date from. If anyone knows of any, I would be grateful to hear about it - please contact dive site directory who will forward any information to me. Apparently the coins tend to surface after quite strong storms, some getting trapped in the rocks at the back of the cove - where metal detector's often used to look, until they put all the 'no metal detecting' signs up.

Martin Scarfe

I have to say I will never dive this site again, as we were strongly disappointed. Too much kelp, very little vis, and no sea life at all. But we did discover a raliegh dirtcross push bike encrusted in barnicles, which I have to say was the highlight of the dive. Gas lasted far too long as the depth was a max of 4.8 metres. Most of the dive was spent with cylinders on the surface. P.s the local doesn't sell fosters!

Harold the Bish, RN Clearance Diver | 04/09/2009

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