Burton Bradstock walk

Burton Bradstock, 2 miles east of Bridport, West Dorset, DT6 4RF

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The beautiful golden glow of Burton Cliff is something to be seen © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

The beautiful golden glow of Burton Cliff is something to be seen

This coast has a long history of smuggling © National Trust

This coast has a long history of smuggling

Gaze in awe at the majestic and world famous Jurassic Coast © NTPL/National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Gaze in awe at the majestic and world famous Jurassic Coast

Route overview

This circular walk along part of the South West Coast Path has beautiful clifftop views of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Route details

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

Route map of the Burton Bradstock walk in Dorset
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Burton Bradstock car park, grid ref: SY491888

  1. From the beach, take the path and steps that lead up Burton Cliff. From the summit, there are some amazing panoramic views. To the right is Golden Cap, with Start Point in Devon further beyond. To the left is the yellow stretch of Chesil Beach leading to Portland Bill. Notice the plants that cling to the cliff edge, including thrift, common mallow and wild clary.

    Show/HideBurton Bradstock cliffs

    Burton Cliff offers 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.

    The beautiful golden glow of Burton Cliff is something to be seen © NTPL/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 (17451822), the King of Smugglers who is reputed to have used the beaches at Burton Bradstock. Folklore says that 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.

    This coast has a long history of smuggling © NTPL/National Trust
  3. Go over the stile and turn right along the lane. Follow the lane to Cliff Road and go up steps on the other side. For a village detour, go left along the main road. The village offers pubs, a shop and post office all of which are built out of local stone.

    Show/HideThe Jurassic Coast

    Hive Beach forms part of Chesil Beach; 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 stunning coastline from East Devon to 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.

    Gaze in awe at the majestic and world famous Jurassic Coast © NTPL/National Trust Images/Joe Cornish
  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 then scaled the cliff in practice for the invasion of Normandy.

  5. We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk

End: Burton Bradstock car park, grid ref: SY491888

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Hard
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 194
  • Terrain:

    Parts of this walk follow the South West Coast Path, some of which runs close to the cliff edges. Please keep dogs on their leads while in fields with livestock.

  • How to get here:

    By bus: Jurassic Coast Bus X53 stops in Burton Bradstock. It is then only a short walk up Beach Road to the National Trust car park

    By train: Axminster is the nearest train station which is 13 miles (20.9km) away

    By car: Go through Burton Bradstock on the B3457 and take Beach Road which is signposted to Hive Beach

  • Facilities:

    • Refreshments and toilets at the Hive Beach Cafe (not National Trust)
    • National Trust car park at Hive Beach
    • Two pubs, petrol station and a village stores in Burton Bradstock village

  • Contact us