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Things to see and do at Hive Beach

Couple walk beside the sea at Hive Beach, Dorset in spring
Visitors walking on Hive Beach | © National Trust Images / Chris Lacey

From bracing coastal walks to views of the Jurassic Coast, a visit to Hive Beach has a number of highlights to look out for.

Hive Beach

Hive Beach is great for families, and dogs are welcome throughout the year. There's ample parking (free for members) and a warm welcome is guaranteed from the friendly team. Admire the dramatic cliffs from a safe distance or take a walk along the south west coast path.

Cogden beach

A short way eastward along Chesil Beach, you will find Cogden - an unspoilt shingle beach backed by attractive farmland. It's a popular spot with anglers and home to a wide variety of beautiful coastal flowers and other wildlife. Parking is available at the roadside at the top of the hill (a short walk uphill from the beach, free for members).

Jurassic Coast

Hive Beach is part of the Jurassic Coast, Britain's only natural World Heritage Site. The Jurassic Coast covers 95 miles that record 185 million years of the earth's history. Burton cliff displays the Bridport sands rock formations to dramatic effect and offers far-reaching views along the 18 miles of Chesil Bank.

Keep clear of the cliffs

Please don’t stray into the danger zone underneath the cliffs – it’s better to admire these sculpted golden buttresses from a distance, without putting yourself at risk. Rock falls can happen suddenly.

Hive Beach, Dorset, on a sunny day with cliffs to the right
Visitors on the beach at Burton Bradstock | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Hive Beach Café

There's a real buzz about the family-friendly Hive Beach Café. You'll be hard pushed to find a more scenic place to enjoy top-notch local seafood, a tasty brunch or an ice cream. This award-winning café's outdoor seating takes full advantage of the amazing views. Or pop inside for a hot chocolate after a bracing coastal walk.

Wildlife at Hive Beach

Wild flowers

Wild flowers can be seen here at almost any time of year but the best time for appreciating the flora is probably June when the flower display is at its most diverse. As summer goes on the display changes and you’ll see fleabane, knapweed and field scabious, not to mention fungi such as parasols and waxcaps.

Insects

Bumblebees and hoverflies, dragonflies hawking over the farmland ponds, and lots of different butterflies such as common blue, marbled white and the rare Lulworth skipper can all be spotted here.

Plants

Down on Chesil Beach, the enormous shingle bank is anchored by a host of specialised plants – those most tolerant of salt include sea kale, yellow horned poppy and sea sandwort. These plants grow in an unlikely moonscape of salt and pebbles, but their deep roots help to stabilise the beach.

On the landward side you can see the beautiful purple and yellow combination of thrift and bird’s-foot trefoil or listen to the wind soughing in the reedbed or the croaking of amorous marsh frogs.

Birds

You’ll probably see kestrels, buzzards and a host of small birds such as stonechat, linnet or the pied wagtails that inhabit Hive Beach car park. The patient birder might spot a selection of waders, gulls and other species both resident and migrant – a huge variety of birds pass through the area, sometimes stopping only for a day or two.

A view along the beach at Burton Bradstock, Dorset, with the sun just peeping from behind the cliff side creating shadows from the rocks along the beach.

Discover more at Hive Beach

Find out how to get to Hive Beach, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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