Parson's Barn

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 United Kingdom
  • Nature
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Parson's Barn is a large sea-level cavern below the Ballard Point cliffs, between Studland and Swanage bays in the English Channel. Ballard Point is the headland of the Ballard Downs, an area of chalk downland, on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, southern England. Parson's Barn lies directly east of Studland, a few hundred metres south of Handfast Point and the Old Harry Rocks. The cave is about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) northeast of Swanage. The sea once washed a huge hole in the base of the cliffs. This cavern was then used as a smugglers cave. A large section has collapsed since then and has been eroded away by the sea. Now only a few chalk stacks remain, these are called the Pinnacles. The waves have cut arches through the base of the stacks.


As the winds blow through the arches during severe gales it results in sounds similar to a ghostly pealing of bells. Legend has it that the eerie sound comes from a ship that had transporting bells to a church in Poole and that sank because of the crew's blasphemy. Legend also has it that Parson's Barn became its name because the local parson was brought here once a month to hold his sermon and to bless the local fishermen and their work.
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