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Worbarrow Bay

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Overview





Worbarrow Bay is a large open coastal bight situated close east of Lulworth Cove on the south coast of England. The bay affords sheltered anchorages in its corners of Mupe Bay and Worbarrow Tout, in a remote natural setting.

Good protection may be found from all but southerly winds by tucking into the appropriate corner. Daylight access is straight forward as, apart from a few inshore dangers and some foul ground surrounding its points, the bay is wide open and free from outlying dangers.
Please note

Anchoring is only permitted when Lulworth Gunnery Ranges are not in use.




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Keyfacts for Worbarrow Bay
Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Naval or military area with specific regulations

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
July 18th 2018

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderQuick and easy access from open waterScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Naval or military area with specific regulations



Position and approaches
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Haven position

50° 37.113' N, 002° 13.322' W

This is the anchoring area in Mupe Bay, the better protected of the bay's two anchorages.

What is the initial fix?

The following Worbarrow Bay will set up a final approach:
50° 36.976' N, 002° 12.243' W
This is midway between Worbarrow Bay's two promontories. From here either of its two anchorages may be safely approached.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in the westbound Route location or eastbound Route location sequenced 'Selsey Bill to Start Point' coastal description.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Worbarrow Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Lulworth Cove - 0.6 miles W
  2. Durdle Door - 1.3 miles W
  3. Ringstead Bay - 2.8 miles W
  4. Wareham - 3.6 miles NE
  5. Redclyffe Yacht Club - 3.7 miles NE
  6. Chapman's Pool - 3.8 miles ESE
  7. Ridge Wharf Yacht Centre - 4 miles NE
  8. Weymouth Harbour - 5.4 miles W
  9. Shipstal Point - 5.5 miles ENE
  10. Weymouth Marina - 5.6 miles W
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Lulworth Cove - 0.6 miles W
  2. Durdle Door - 1.3 miles W
  3. Ringstead Bay - 2.8 miles W
  4. Wareham - 3.6 miles NE
  5. Redclyffe Yacht Club - 3.7 miles NE
  6. Chapman's Pool - 3.8 miles ESE
  7. Ridge Wharf Yacht Centre - 4 miles NE
  8. Weymouth Harbour - 5.4 miles W
  9. Shipstal Point - 5.5 miles ENE
  10. Weymouth Marina - 5.6 miles W
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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Chart
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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How to get in?


Worbarrow Bay is located 6 miles north-westward of Saint Alban’s Head, 8½ miles east of Weymouth and 1½ miles to the east of Lulworth Cove. It is an open bight about 1½ miles wide, and a ½ mile deep, encompassed by high cliffs that have a cleft, called the Arish Mell Gap, at its centre.





The bay is in the middle of the Lulworth Gunnery Range situated between Saint Alban’s Head and Lulworth Cove, extending 12 miles to seaward. As such, Worbarrow Bay may only be visited when the Lulworth Gunnery Ranges are not in use. Fortunately, the range is closed most weekends and during the main school summer holiday periods.

The Lulworth Gunnery Range schedule may be obtained in advance from the 'Lulworth Range Walks and Tyneham Village' opening times website or by phone from the range safety officer P: +44 1929 404701 or +44 1929 404712. A recording of range operating times is given out on P: +44 1929 404819.

When the range is in use three range safety boats, VHF Ch. 08 and 16, patrol the edges of the danger area. Red flags and red flashing lights are displayed above the coast guard station on St. Alban’s Head and on Bindon Hill, with its distinctive white chalk scar, in the west side of Worbarrow Bay. Other inland range boundary red flags may be seen from time to time but these can be ignored by those at sea.

Technically yachts may pass through the firing area and some do so enduring considerable pressure from the safety boats. But this is not recommended as it is inconsiderate and disrupts the firing schedule. In the event of any uncertainty Portland Coastguard, VHF Channel 8, will be delighted to advise. The range safety boats may also be contacted by VHF and the range safety officer by phone as above.

Landing is permanently prohibited at Arish Mell Gap. No anchoring should take place off the bay as an outfall pipeline extends out from the bay to a lit buoy two miles south by south-east. The bay has no lights, save for that of the offshore outfall pipe buoy, Fl.Y.5s, making it inadvisable for newcomers to make a night entry.




Convergance Point Worbarrow Bay makes itself know from seaward by its line of white cliffs with their distinctive ‘V’ divide, of Arish Mell Gap, at the centre.

The distinctive central gap, immediately east of Bindon Hill and accentuated by its white sandy beach, held open west of Worbarrow Tout, a promontory at the eastern end of Worbarrow Bay, on 302° T, has served for centuries as a seamark to keep ships clear of the Kimmeridge Ledges.

A tower standing near the shore on the east side of Kimmeridge Bay, 2.2 miles eastward of the east entrance point to Worbarrow Bay, also helps to identify its location.

The bay is entered between the Mupe Rocks, a jagged group of rocks on the west side, and Worbarrow Tout Point, surmounted by a conical hill situated on its east side.




Western Approach Vessels cutting in from the west need to pass around the Mupe Rock stacks and the Mupe Ledge that lies 150 metres behind them. The most eastward of the Mupe Rocks is the last visible rock called End Rock. It is situated about 50 metres in from the eastern extremity of the foul ground extending from the point.




Standing out 150 metres south and eastward from End Rock clears all dangers. There is a single 2.8 metre patch located 200 metres to the east of End Rock which should present no problem to leisure craft entering the bay.

Once End Rock is abeam to the west, steer northward for about 300 metres to clear the submerged Mupe Ledge that extends from Mupe Bay’s southern point. When the bay opens wide and the southern end of the beach is abeam, it is safe to turn in.




Eastern Approach Vessels approaching from the east should use the above mentioned traditional clearing line, of Arish Mell Gap, held open west of Worbarrow Tout on 302° T, to avoid the Kimmeridge Ledges.





Worbarrow Tout, the eastern promontory of Worbarrow Bay, is an unmistakable conical limestone hill that protrudes into the sea and is joined to the mainland by a thin neck of land. Vessels should stand well off Worbarrow Tout as its rocky shelf, along with some isolated outliers, extends 130 metres from its foot. Maintaining a distance of 300 metres from the headland’s shoreline will clear all its dangers.


Southern Approach Vessels approaching from the south will find the middle of the bay free of all obstacles.



Initial fix location The initial fix is set south of Arish Mell Gap midway between Worbarrow Bay’s entry points.




Haven location Anchor in appropriate end of the bay to make best the prevailing conditions and any anticipated wind shifts.

Best westerly quadrant shelter can be obtained in Mupe Bay, locally known as Mupes Bay, on the west side and close north of Mupe Rocks. Deep-water will be found close to the western beach where the 2-metre contour is as little as 30 metres from the shoreline. Anchor according to conditions.




The bay is subject to sudden katabatic downdraughts on clear nights. So it is advisable to select deeper water where more scope can be deployed to reduce any sudden harsh snatching.




Mupe Bay is considered the better of Worbarrow Bay’s anchoring areas as Mupe Rocks, and its backing ledge, form an excellent protective breakwater. The bay is considered to be a comfortable anchorage in westerly conditions of up to force seven.






Easterly quadrant protection will be found by tucking in as far as possible around the hook of the Worbarrow Tout headland. Anchor according to draft about 200 metres north of its summit. It provides shelter from north round to south-east, with a measure of southerly protection. Any prolonged southerly quadrant conditions will however soon send in swell.


Worbarrow Tout as dusk
Image: CC0


Ground holding in either location is a mixture of sand, shingle, pebbles, boulders and some weed. The holding is good but should be tested. Do not neglect to deploy a riding light at night as fishing boats often come in to take shelter during the night in Worbarrow Bay.
Land by tender anywhere along the beaches.




Vessels crossing the bay along the northern shore should prepare to stand out on the western side of the bay. From Worbarrow Tout to Cow Corner the shore is free of dangers. But from Cow Corner to Cover Hole, the eastern headland of Arish Mell, it is foul out to 100 metres. From Arish Mell’s western headland to Mupe Bay the shoreline is then foul out to 250 metres with Barber's Rock, situated about midway, drying to 2.1 metres 100 metres out from the cliffs. Keeping outside a line between Cover Hole and Mupe Rocks clears this latter foul area.




Why visit here?
First recorded as Wyrebarowe in 1462, and Worthbarrow Baye in 1575, Worbarrow Bay derives its name from the conjunction of the old English beorg, meaning mountain, mound, or barrow and wierde meaning ‘watch’, therefore ‘hill or mountain were the watch is kept’.




It is most likely that the name refers to the ancient Flower’s Barrow Hillfort that overlooks Worbarrow Bay from the south face of Rings Hill. Built more than 2,500 years ago the fort was continually manned up to Roman times after they took if from the local Durotriges tribe. The hillfort covers an area of approximately 6 hectares and is cut in half today by the cliff’s coastal erosion. Occupation debris from both Iron Age and Roman settlements have been found here and a Bronze Age pin was uncovered in one of two large mounds nearby. The grassy remnants of the historic hillfort’s double and triple ramparts can st