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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 which once caught fire due its composition of oil shale and iron pyorites.

Love our coast

Join us for our Big Beach Picnic at nearby Weymouth Beach on 4 July, one of 15 taking place on the same day at coastal sites across the South West.

It's just one of the ways you can celebrate the West Dorset coast this year with the Coastal Festival. 300 miles of coast in the South West to explore, over 200 events, and £1 million to raise (in order to care for the coast for just one year.)

Summer walking

A couple walking the South West Coast Path near Ringstead Bay in Dorset

You could follow some of the spectacular South West Coast Path, eastwards to White Nothe or heading west towards Weymouth.The path is still quiet, and on blue-skied spring days the views are incredible.

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.


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.

Dogs welcome

Ringstead is a very dog friendly place. The coast path is perfect for a good leg stretch and dogs are allowed on the beach all year round. There's also a large grassy area at the National Trust car park for a good run around.

Please just remember to keep your pet under control where livestock are grazing, and of course bin and bag poos.

A holiday in Dorset

We've got a great range of places to stay in West Dorset. Fancy a back to basics camping experience on the Golden Cap Estate? Or how about a cosy cottage from which to explore all those Broadchurch and Far from the Madding Crowd filming locations? For a touch of luxury there's Portland House, a stylish villa with unforgettable views just along the coast near Weymouth.

50 things activities

Tick off some 50 things to do before you're 11¾ challenges on your visit:

  • Fly a kite - in the fields above the bay
  • Jump over waves - usually gentle here
  • Skim a stone - on the pebbly beach
  • Create some wild art
  • Swim in the sea - it's a safe, sheltered bay