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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.
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.
Great for walking
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.
You can tick off quite a few of your 50 things to do before you're 11¾ activities on your visit. Check out our favourite ones to do at Ringstead:
- 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
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.