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Explore Orcombe Point

A view of the Geoneedle with the sea and sky behind at Orcombe Point, Exmouth, East Devon
The Geoneedle at Orcombe Point | © National Trust Images / Tim Bowden

Orcombe Point is the most westerly point of the Jurassic Coast. Discover the Geoneedle landmark, as well as wildflower meadows playing host to an array of wildlife.

The Geoneedle

The Geoneedle at Orcombe Point is a landmark constructed of the various rock types found along the World Heritage coastline. It was commissioned from public artist, sculptor and designer Michael Fairfax to commemorate the opening of the World Heritage Site and was unveiled by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2002.

Leading up to the Geoneedle is a Jurassic coast hopscotch. Jump on different types of stones through geological time from Triassic (Red Sandstone) to Cretaceous (Limestone).

The Jurassic Coast

The ascent to Orcombe Point shows the successive layers of different sedimentary rocks, which were deposited under varying geological conditions.

At the base are cross-bedded sandstones. Towards the top, the rock types are those deposited by quieter, slower-flowing waters such as siltstones and mudstones. The sediments are marked red which indicates they were formed in a desert and belong to the Aylesbeare Mudstone Group, dating from the Triassic period 250 million years ago.

A red peacock butterfly with wings outstretched sitting on a white plant
A peacock buttefly | © National Trust Images / Gwen Potter

Wildlife at Orcombe


In spring look out for the rare green-winged orchid, which range from white, through pink, to a deep purple colour. These rare plants need your help to keep growing and thriving. If they become damaged this will affect seed production, so when visiting Orcombe, please take care of where you step.

It is also important not to pick the plants for the health of the orchid population. Leaving the orchids at Orcombe means more people can enjoy them.

Wild flowers and butterflies

In summer the wildflower meadows are abundant with bird’s-foot trefoil, creeping buttercup, cut-leaved crane’s bill and white clover. Look out for lesser stitchwort, common violet and lady’s bedstraw. These flowers and grasses attract the attention of butterflies like meadow brown, gatekeeper, small tortoiseshell, peacock and marbled white.

The South Front and lawn at Knightshayes on a sunny day

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