Paddling Around Old Harry's Rocks in Dorset

Explore the beauty of Dorset by paddling around Old Harry's Rocks. You'll get to see the stunning chalk formations, the turquoise sea and the wildlife, while enjoying the fresh air and exercise. And with KiffLab dry bags, you can keep your belongings safe and dry, no matter what the weather or the waves.
Old Harry's Rocks Dorset
Photo: Jade Miave
 You can kayak from Studland Bay or Swanage Bay to see Old Harry Rocks from below. Paddling around Old Harry's Rocks is an adventure that you can tailor to your preferences and abilities. You can choose from different tours, guided or self-guided, and paddle at your own pace. You can also rent or buy kayaks and equipment from various outfitters in the area. 
Featuring three chalk formations that rise from the sea at the most southern tip of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they have a fascinating history and offer amazing views and wildlife. 

Old Harry Rocks are the remnants of a long stretch of chalk that once connected England to the Isle of Wight, until large sections eroded away over millions of years. The chalk was formed from the skeletons of plankton and other microorganisms that drifted to the bottom of the sea and became compacted. The rocks have been shaped by the force of the ocean, which entered cracks in the chalk structure and eroded certain areas, leaving caves, arches, stacks and stumps. The rocks have different names, such as Old Harry, Old Harry's Wife, No Man's Land and the Pinnacles.

The best time of the year to visit is generally in spring and summer with warmer weather and calmer seas, while autumn and winter offer dramatic views and fewer crowds. You can also enjoy different colours and flowers depending on the season. Whenever you go though, you'll be amazed by the beauty and diversity of this unique rock formation. 

Of course, paddling around Old Harry's Rocks also requires some safety precautions. You don't want to ruin your fun by getting into trouble on the water. Here are some tips to keep in mind before you go:
  • Check the weather and tide conditions before you leave. Avoid paddling in storms, strong winds or currents that are beyond your skill level.
  • Wear a life jacket at all times. It's not only a legal requirement, but also a lifesaver in case of an emergency.
  • Dress for immersion. Even if it's warm outside, the water can be cold and hypothermia can set in quickly. Wear a wetsuit or a dry suit depending on the season and water temperature.
  • Bring essential safety gear such as a whistle, a communication device, a bilge pump, a spare paddle, a paddle float and a towline. Know how to use them in case of a situation.
  • Don't go solo. Paddling with a buddy or a group is safer and more fun. Stay close to each other and communicate regularly.
Paddling around Old Harry's Rocks is not only fun, but also rewarding. You'll get to see nature at its best, learn about geology and history, and challenge yourself physically and mentally. And with KiffLab dry bags, you'll have peace of mind that your stuff is protected from water damage.
KiffLab Dorset
Photo: Joshua Cowan