Quirky Dorset 25 – The Smugglers’ Cave

– – – Exploring The Countryside and Lanes of Dorset – – –

Continuing our theme of quirky things in Dorset – I think this must be Quirky Dorset Part 25 🙂 – we return to the coast, and a very hidden part of the Jurassic Coast too. And we are visiting another part of Dorset with a really adventurous past……..ah, if only rocks could talk! This is the Smugglers’ Cave.

The Smugglers’ Cave

The Smugglers' Cave
The Smugglers’ Cave

The Smugglers’ Cave is situated in a tucked away position in Mupe Bay, or to be more exact, Bacon Hole, which is a tiny bay just west of Mupe Bay. It is rugged and remote, miles away from the nearest town or road. The only way here is on foot and that is no easy walk either, and there is no way down from the cliff top above other than to continue east to access the beach at Mupe Bay and then retrace your steps back along the rocky shore.

You could easily miss this cave as it is not easily visible from the coast path and even from the waters edge, it is still not obvious. It is sited a couple of miles east of Lulworth Cove and village and it is fairly clear why this would be a good choice for smugglers to land and store their contraband ready for onward movement inland. Goods such as brandy, wine and tea would have been landed in this sheltered cove and moved swiftly into the cave under cover of darkness.

The entrance to the cave slopes at a forty five degree angle because of the way the strata has been crumpled and upturned along this part of the coast. As you enter the mouth, you can spot the false back wall with its small square door in the gloom. It was behind this wall that the contraband would have been stored, protected from the elements.

Smugglers' Cave
The Inner Chamber

Behind the door is a small but secret hideaway that would be even harder to spot than the cave itself, hidden in the shadows as it is. The only things stored here now are numerous plastic bottles, washed in by the tide, just another sign of a severe problem that besets this beautiful land of ours in this plastic age!

Stand at the door and look out, and you see Mupe Rocks, jagged and upturned like the cave itself. These rocks stretch in a line out into the bay, a result of coastal erosion that has worn away the land that once surrounded them leaving them isolated like mini islands. It is these very rocks that would have provided some protection from the elements as the small boats headed for shore.

The Smugglers' Cave
Mupe Rocks Viewed from the Smugglers’ Cave

This is a wonderful place to visit, wild, remote, often deserted, with just the sounds of the sea and gulls for company. At times however, there will be the sound of gunfire, not the historic echoing of the coastguards as they fire at smugglers in the dead of a dark night but the sound of modern heavy military guns. You see, this cave and the bay, along with much of this part of the coast sits in the middle of an M.O.D. gunnery range and so is only open to the public at certain times.

Have a care, if you want to visit this cave, make sure you do it at the right time otherwise you might get more of a smuggler’s experience than you bargained for!

Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is terry.yarrow@gmail.com – comments and feedback are always welcomed.

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