The Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre
Know before you go
When to visit
Opening timesOpen daily from 11am until 4pm from April to October. Usually open only at weekends in November and closed from December until March.
Limited access to the beach in winter. Check tide times to plan your rockpooling adventures!
Best time to visitApril to October
About the reserve
The Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre, with interactive displays and aquaria, provides a fascinating and innovative source of information, encouraging all ages to explore the bay, its ledges and rockpools.
Kimmeridge Bay extends along a beautiful stretch of Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, with splendid views from grassy cliff tops & underwater nature trails for divers and snorkelers.
The Wild Seas Centre offers a focal point to the enjoyment of exploring the bay and its rockpools and ledges. The snorkel trail allows a unique glimpse under the waves and snorkelling equipment is available to buy. Peer into the water to see a wide variety of seaweeds and rockpool creatures. Specialities include peacock’s tail seaweed, connemara clingfish and Montagu’s blennies. This is a Marine Conservation Zone so please always follow the Seashore Code. In shallow water, large wrasse and shoals of small fish can be seen against a colourful backdrop of rainbow wrack and coralline seaweeds. Occasionally large marine mammals such as seals and dolphins can be spotted.
Toilets are located in the car park.
Take the A351 from Wareham to Corfe Castle and the first turn right to Creech. Follow road to the top of a steep hill and round a hairbend bend signposted to Church Knowle. After approx. 2 miles, turn right to Kimmeridge. Drive through village to toll booth. Parking fee payable to Smedmore Estate.
To plan your visit to Kimmeridge Bay, check the Lulworth Range Walks and Tyneham village opening times. Useful information can be found here.
The Kimmeridge Snorkel Trail
The Snorkel Trail in the mild, shallow waters of Kimmeridge Bay, leads the snorkeller through a variety of seabed habitats, including sandy seabed, rocky reef and Japanese seaweed garden.
The 5 buoys that mark the trail are attached to the seabed and each reveals a different type of habitat with different marine creatures and colourful seaweeds to look out for. However the trail is only in place from May to September each year.
- should only be followed in clear, calm sea conditions and is best used during neap tides.
- should be avoided after heavy rain or strong winds as the shallow bay takes time to settle and the visibility will be limited.
- should only be used by confident sea swimmers - it is approximately 400m long, passes through patches of seaweed and the water can be colder than you're used to. A wetsuit is advised, to lengthen the time you are able to spend in the water and to aid buoyancy.
- is only in place during the summer months from May to September.
We are here to help
DWT wardens at the Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre, by the slipway in the bay, are able to help with:
- safety advice and whether conditions are suitable to use the trail
- purchase of a waterproof snorkel trail guide.
They are NOT able to lead snorkellers in the water or hire any other equipment - you will need to provide your own wetsuit. Fins or flippers are not necessary as these can create accidental disturbance and damage to wildlife.
Purchase a waterproof snorkel trail guide
The waterproof snorkel trail guide can be purchased from the marine centre and gives directions for following the trail, safety advice, snorkellers code of conduct and a photo identification guide to the commonest wildlife along the trail. It costs £3.
The Seashore Code
To keep both yourself and wildlife safe please always follow the Seashore Code.
- Don’t take living things away with you.
- Carefully replace seaweed and rocks exactly as you found them.
- Be gentle with wildlife.
- Observe wildlife where it lives - limpets, anemones and seaweed will die if pulled off rocks.
- Don’t paddle or throw things in rockpools - they are creatures’ homes.
- Avoid trampling on plants and animals - keep to dry, bare rock.
- Leave sea and shore birds alone to feed.
- Take all your litter home.
- Don’t get cut off - check tide times before venturing along the coast.
- Keep back from the edge and foot of cliffs - rock falls are frequent and unexpected.