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Unspoilt beach, farmland and cliffs on the Jurassic Coast

Spend a day on this quiet stretch of the West Dorset coast where you can take a walk across the cliff tops above Ringstead, bring a kite, or pack a picnic and follow one of the steep ancient tracks down to the shingle beach. The water is incredibly clear and safe for bathing.

Part of the Jurassic coastline, on a fine day there are great views across Weymouth Bay to Portland. If you walk out to White Nothe, you will pass above Burning Cliff (currently not accessible due to recent landslide) which once caught fire due its composition of oil shale and iron pyorites.


A male chalkhill blue butterfly

The chalk grassland around Ringstead is home to a profusion of birds, rare butterflies and wild flowers.

Winged wonders: Skylarks and butterfly varieties, including chalk-hill blue and Lulworth skipper

Wildflowers: Knapweed, field scabious, lady's bedstraw and bird's foot trefoil

The undercliff beneath White Nothe was formed by recurring landslides over the centuries. This tangled area is a haven for wildlife including roe deer, foxes and badgers.

Scenic summer walks

A couple walking the South West Coast Path on a sunny day near Ringstead

A couple walking the South West Coast Path on a sunny day near Ringstead

The area around Ringstead is definitely best explored on foot. You could follow some of the spectacular South West Coast Path, eastwards to White Nothe or heading west towards Weymouth. Or take one of several tracks (an extremely steep one known as Smugglers' Path is not advisable for young children) down to the bay from the National Trust car park. Please remember to follow any safety warnings on signs near the cliffs.

50 things in a year in West Dorset

Try your hand at some wild art on the beach

Try your hand at some wild art on the beach

Are you up for an outdoor adventure in 2014?

This year we're aiming to promote each activity on the 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ list. We'll show you the best places to do each 50 things activity in West Dorset and tell you about our special 50 things events.

We hope that families can have unforgettable experiences while exploring our special places.

50 things in summer

Plenty of breeze on the grass above the bay

You can tick off quite a few of your 50 things activities on a visit here. Check out our favourite ones to do at Ringstead on long summer days:

  • Fly a kite - catch the breeze in the lush green fields overlooking the bay
  • Jump over waves - great fun on a breezy day
  • Skim a stone - it's a pebble beach so plenty of stones to choose from
  • Create some wild art - what can you make from things you find on the beach?
  • Swim in the sea - a safe, sheltered bay for family-friendly bathing