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The continents of Africa and Europe played a critical role in shaping this coast. After the five sedimentary rock layers were laid down, the two continental plates came together, forcing up the rocks in between. During this ‘Alpine Orogeny’, which occurred between 65 and 7 million years ago, mountain ranges including the Alps, Atlas and Pyrenees were formed.

Here at Lulworth there are no mountains, but the uplift and folding of the rocks is clearly evident along the coast. It can be seen at Lulworth Cove, Man O War Bay and Durdle Door, but the most dramatic example is at Stair Hole in the ‘Lulworth Crumple’.