The Fine Foundation Wild Seas Centre
An interactive marine centre situated on a beautiful stretch of Dorset's Jurassic Coast, with splendid views from grassy cliff tops and an underwater nature trail for snorkelers.
The Wild Seas Centre has now re-opened and is welcoming visitors back. To keep visitors and colleagues safe there are new covid-19 safety measures in place including, limiting the number of people in the centre at any one time, social distancing, one-way systems, hand cleaning stations and card payments only. Face coverings need to be worn in the centre.
Know before you go
Entry fee£5 Road toll fee (depending on vehicle)
Parking informationParking fee included in road toll fee
There is access to South West Coast Path and a footpath to Kimmeridge Village, or you can try our snorkel trail. Cliff paths are steep in places and the rockpools are slippery & uneven.
The area around the Wild Seas Centre centre is accessible, however terrain can be uneven so sturdy footwear is advisable.
When to visit
Opening timesDec-March - Closed for the winter.
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 & 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 & snorkelers.
The Wild Seas Centre offers a focal point to the enjoyment of exploring the bay and its rockpools & ledges. The snorkel trail allows a unique glimpse under the waves and snorkelling equipment is available to hire. Peer into the water to see a wide variety of seaweeds & rockpool creatures. Specialities include Peacock’s Tail Seaweed, Connemara Clingfish and Montagu’s Blennies. In Shallow water, large wrasse and shoals of small fish can be seen against a colourful backdrop of Rainbow Wrack & coralline seaweeds. Occasionally large marine mammals such as seals and dolphins can be spotted.
Take the A351 from Wareham to Corfe Castle & the first turn right to Creech. Follow road to the top of a steep hill & round a hairbend bend signposted to Church Knowle. Approx. 2 miles on, 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
- hire of masks and snorkels only, and only during opening times.
- 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.
Hire masks and snorkels
Masks and snorkels can be hired at a cost of £5 per set with a refundable deposit of £20 per set.
Our Snorkel Trail guide is kindly sponsored by Flippas-n-fins scuba diving