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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.
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.
Walk into spring
Spring is a great time to get out and explore this beauty spot. 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.
Southdown Farm HLS scheme
Ringstead regulars will have noticed some dramatic changes to some areas of farmland here. The work we've been doing might look destructive but it's actually part of a project to enhance the wildlife conservation value of Southdown Farm. From clearing invasive scrub to making new ponds, it's certainly been keeping us busy.
Love our coast
Celebrate the West Dorset coast this year with the Coastal Festival. 300 miles of coast in the South West to explore, over 200 events, £1 million to raise (in order to care for the coast for just one year) and lots of ways to get involved.
- See Golden Cap in this short film about the South West coast
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.
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 filming locations? For a touch of luxury there's Portland House, a stylish villa with unforgettable views just along the coast near Weymouth.