Burton Bradstock coast path walk

Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 4RF

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Burton Cliff appears to glow gold in the sunlight © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Burton Cliff appears to glow gold in the sunlight

Smuggling was once rife on this stretch of the coast © National Trust

Smuggling was once rife on this stretch of the coast

Sheep may safely graze at Burton Bradstock, overlooked by the church tower © National Trust/Rowan Thompson

Sheep may safely graze at Burton Bradstock, overlooked by the church tower

Route overview

A walk along the spectacular golden cliffs of Burton and skirting the idyllic village of Burton Bradstock. Hive Beach is part of the larger Chesil Beach; a striking section of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site which is the largest shingle ridge in the world.

 

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

A map showing the route for the Burton Bradstock coast path walking trail
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Hive Beach car park, grid ref: SY490889

  1. From the car park follow the re-routed coast path signs heading west, marked 'Freshwater and West Bay'. There are some amazing panoramic views. To the west is Golden Cap, the highest point on the south coast, and on a clear day, Start Point in Devon. To the east is the stretch of Chesil Beach leading to Portland Bill. Look out for the plants that cling to the cliff edge, including thrift, common mallow and wild clary.

    Show/HideBurton Cliff

    Burton Cliff is one of the finest examples of the distinctive, alternate hard and soft layered geology of the Bridport Sands, which makes it appear to glow bright gold in the sunlight. The regular rock falls can often expose some important and fascinating fossils, such as ammonites, recognised by their ribbed spiral formed shell.

    Burton Cliff appears to glow gold in the sunlight © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish
  2. Follow the South West Coast Path until you reach a stile on the right hand side. Go over the stile and follow the path to the bottom of the field. In the 1700s smuggling was rife along this coastline and a smugglers beacon was supposedly sited on Burton Cliff.

    Show/HideSmuggling

    Burton Bradstock has a history of illegal seafaring as it offered a key landing stage at the centre of Lyme Bay. There are many legends of the activities of smugglers operating in the area including Isaac Gulliver (1745-1822), the 'King of Smugglers' who reputedly used the beaches at Burton Bradstock. According to folklore, a local fisherman or smuggler could tell exactly where he was on the beach at night or in fog simply by looking at the size of the pebbles. This aided him in sneaking ashore, away from the customs men and their patrols.

    Smuggling was once rife on this stretch of the coast © National Trust
  3. Go over the stile and turn right along the lane until you reach Cliff Road. Cross over and go up the steps and over the stile. For a village detour, turn left along the main road. Burton Bradstock is an idyllic village well worth exploring, with many of the buildings made from the local stone.

  4. Follow the path diagonally across a large field. Go through the kissing gate at the other end of the field and across the next field and gate. Now head down towards the car park. In the winter of 1943-4, soldiers poured onto Burton beach from landing craft and scaled the cliff in practice for the invasion of Normandy. Hive Beach forms part of Chesil Beach on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

    Show/HideChesil Beach

    Chesil Beach is situated on a striking section of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site which, as the largest shingle ridge in the world, is an internationally unique geological feature. The Jurassic Coast covers 95 miles (153km) of truly spectacular coastline from East Devon to Studland in Dorset and is considered to be the only place in the world displaying unbroken evidence of 185 million years of evolution. It yields a steady flow of dinosaur remains, including previously unknown species.

    Sheep may safely graze at Burton Bradstock, overlooked by the church tower © National Trust/Rowan Thompson

End: Hive Beach car park, grid ref: SY490889

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1.1 mile (1.8km)
  • Time: 30 to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: OL15 Purbeck and South Dorset
  • Terrain:

    Parts of this walk follow the South West Coast Path, which runs close to the cliff edges in some places. There are some moderate slopes. Sensible walking shoes with good grip are advisable. Please keep dogs on their leads while in fields with livestock.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: The South West Coast Path passes through Burton Bradstock. Hive Beach is a short walk from Burton Bradstock village

    By bike: National Cycle Network route 2 runs nearby

    By bus: Coastline X53 stops at the end of the short road to Hive Beach

    By train: Nearest train station is Axminster 13 miles (20.9km)

    By car: Burton Bradstock is located on the B3157 coast road from Bridport to Abbotsbury and Weymouth. Nearest postcode is DT6 4RF

  • Facilities:

    At Hive Beach:

    • Café and toilets at Hive Beach Café (opening times vary according to season)
    • National Trust car park (free for members) open all year with information point open March-October

    In Burton Bradstock village:

    • Petrol station with Spar shop
    • Post office/ village stores
    • Two pubs
    • Toilets
    • Children's play area

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