Bowleaze Cove lies just to the East of Weymouth, yet within Weymouth Bay and can be walked to around the bay via Preston Beach. It is situated within the parish of Preston, which is known for the Roman relics discovered over the years. The Cove itself is rocky and is formed from the steep cliff on its eastern side. The beach is pebble and shingle leading to soft sand. It is popular for water sports and has a variety of other entertainment in the vicinity.
The River Jordan flows into the sea at Bowleaze Cove, just to the left of the pier in the picture. It is a small river, with its source in the hills above Sutton Poyntz, running down through Preston and finally flowing out onto the beach, where it can be seen easily at low tide.
Rockfall at Bowleaze and the view towards Overcombe
From the hill or cliff top above Bowleaze there are some magnificent views over Weymouth Bay, Overcombe and Portland. Over the years there have been many rockfalls and evidence of the landslides can be seen all along the cliffs towards Weymouth. Some of the former coastguard cottages at Overcombe were lost many years ago in a landslide.
A small turning off the road going along the hill leads to the Jordan Hill Roman Temple. The temple is higher up the hill enclosed in a small field. The site of a Roman Villa lies to the northeast, presently covered by a caravan site.
The Jordan Hill site consists of the temple and a villa further up towards Preston village, the site of which is a caravan park. It is also said to include a cemetary. During the 1980's the villa included a mosaic pavement, limestone flag floor and an oven or furnace. There have been several excavations at the site over the years and during the early thirties was found a shaft in the south-east corner of the temple. In it were ritual deposits of bird bones and bronze coins placed between flat stones, along with pottery, a sword and a spearhead.
Jordan Hill Roman Temple
According to "Weymouth, An Illustrated History" by Maureen Attwool and Jack West, updated edition 1995, the mosaic pavement was not protected and can no longer be seen. Possibly any remains of it lay beneath the grass. The authors also say that the remains of a second building were discovered on the edge of the cliff in 1966.
It has been suggested by various authors of local history that the building could have served as a signal station due to its coastal location or an early lighthouse for guiding ships into the Cove.
For Historical Parish information please see the Preston page
For more pictures of Bowleaze Cove and the Jordan Hill Roman Temple: Weymouth Pictures (external link)
Nearby Parishes and Places
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