Dancing Ledge is a flat area of rock at the base of a small cliff (a little scrambling is required for access). It is signposted on the South West Coast Path a few kilometres west of Swanage. A swimming pool was blasted into the rock for the use of local preparatory schools, particularly Durnford School sometime near the beginning of the twentieth century. The last surviving school (The Old Malthouse in Langton Matravers, which closed in 2007) and one of the schools for which the pool was originally created recently arranged for debris, including several large rocks, to be removed, making swimming possible once again. The sea itself is not suitable for swimming, as there is no shoreline, simply a rock shelf under which people have been pulled by the current to their deaths. This depth was exploited by local quarrymen in transporting Purbeck Limestone away from the area.
Dancing Ledge is so called because at certain stages of the tide when the waves wash over the horizontal surface, the surface undulations cause the water to bob about making the ledge appear to dance. The stone removed was transported by ship direct from Dancing Ledge, round the south coast to Kent in order to construct Ramsgate harbour.
The cliffs above the ledge are a popular climbing location, with a small (10m) cliff close to the sea, and a larger (~20m) limestone cliff set back above this. It is also a popular spot for tomb-stoning.
The Jurassic Coast stretches over a distance of 153 kilometres (95 mi), from Orcombe Point near Exmouth, in the west, to Old Harry Rocks on the Isle of Purbeck, in the east. The coastal exposures along the coastline provide a continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations spanning approximately 185 million years of the Earths history. The localities along the Jurassic Coast includes a large range of important fossil zones.
- "Dorset and East Devon Coast". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 2001. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
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