Tyneham village to Worbarrow Bay is a one mile walk. The closest car park is actually the village car park so prepare yourself for a walk. Because of its secluded location Worbarrow Bay is rarely busy unlike many of Purbecks other beaches.
The bay which is often referred to as Tyneham beach is part of the Jurassic coastline which means there are opportunities for fossil hunting. Many of the rocks contain small fossils and apparently fossilized dinosaur foot prints are located on Worbarrow Tout.
The opening times for Worbarrow Bay are the same as for Tyneham village. Dog owners will be pleased to know that dogs are very welcome and there are lots of opportunities for some very long walks. There are no cafes or restaurants so make sure to bring a picnic if you are planning on staying for a while.
Because it’s so quiet, it’s a really nice place to just stay and relax for a few hours or perhaps try a spot of fishing! Swimming in Worbarrow bay is a popular pass time but do so at your own risk as there are no lifeguards.
Camping at the bay is not allowed. In fact there is no accommodation in the immediate vicinity of Tyneham because it is still used regularly by by the army. The good news is that there are so many choices for accommodation in the surrounding area. Swanage, Corfe, Wareham and Lulworth Cove are beautiful places to stay. They all have a large selection of campsites, bed & breakfast and hotels.
Swanage is perhaps the most popular place to stay near Worbarrow Bay. Be prepared though because it can be hard to find accommodation in Swanage during the summer months. Especially during the eight days when the Swanage Carnival is being held.
Map of Worbarrow Bay
The History of Worbarrow Bay (Tyneham Beach)
During the early 1900s, Worbarrow Bay had a coastguard station as well as seven cottages. Over fifty people lived here which is surprising given its remote location. In 1911 when the Coastguard station closed William Bond purchased it and then one year later had it demolished. The rumour was that he wasn’t keen on tourists coming to the Bay and didn’t want the Coastguard station or its cottages to be used for holiday homes. After the station closed the population of Worbarrow went into decline. Tyneham beach was never the same once the coastguards left.
Before the war in the 1930s, despite William Bonds wishes, the bay became a popular tourist destination. This was mainly due to the automobile revolution. With more and more people owning cars, Worbarrow became a lot more accessible. Some of the local fishermen took advantage of the tourist trade and provided cooked lobsters and crabs as well as cream teas and beer.
When the forced evacuation of Tyneham began in 1943 only 10 residents remained.
Smuggling in Worbarrow Bay
The Buildings of Worbarrow Bay
The Coastguard Station
The Coastguard station was demolished in 1912.
This was home to Charlie and his wife, Harriet. It was a quaint little cottage and even though they had no children of their own, they often had young guests staying. Their home was usually a hive of activity. When the evacuation happened they were relocated to Stoborough.
Charlie was 93 years old and sadly died only 2 weeks after being relocated.
The Mintern family lived here for almost half a century. When Worbarrow Bay was evacuated in 1943 the Mintern family were still supplying Tyneham village with milk and butter. They produced this from their small dairy which you can see attached to the side of the cottage in the photo below.
Jack and Miggie Miller lived at Rose Cottage until 1913. The picturesque little cottage had Roses growing around its door and was named after Miggie whose maiden name was Rose.
Standing next to the boathouse above the beach was Sea Cottage. Jack and Miggie moved in here from Rose Cottage. They lived here for over 30 years until the evacuation. They were moved to Langton Matravers.
Standing on the cliff above the beach, Sheepleaze had wonderful views across the bay all the way to the Isle of Portland. It was built in 1910 by Warwick Draper who was a barrister from London who got permission from the then land owner, William Bond.
The Draper family spent many summers at Sheepleaze up until the evacuation.
When they were forced to give up their beautiful summer retreat, Philip Draper who was Warwicks eldest son was very much aggrieved. The thought of losing their summer retreat where they had spent so many summers was too much to bear.
After the war, Phillip tried to get his property back. He had many influential friends but they had no success in regaining the property. Phillip became a prominent figure in the Tyneham Action Group but it was all to no avail. The government kept the land and the property.
Over the years the Bungalow grew in size as extensions were added. Originally built in 1912, by 1920 it had seven bedrooms and was a very large property. The Bungalow was home to Mary and John Wheeler. They had four adopted children who continued to visit the property after Mary and john passed away.
When the evacuation happened Mary’s niece, Maud had made the Bungalow her home.