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Coastal access in Dorset

In Dorset work has started on the England Coast Path - a new national trail going around England's coast.

England Coast Path

Work is well underway on the England Coast Path - a new national trail around all of England's coast. Natural England expects to complete work on the England Coast Path in 2020.

We are working with Natural England to bring in new coastal access rights between Lyme Regis and Rufus Castle as part of the new coast path.

Benefits for Dorset:

  • being able to roll back the path in response to erosion, which can happen suddenly in large uneven slips or slumps and can cut off the path
  • improved alignment of the path in a number of places, giving better sea views and taking people on a more coastal experience
  • new areas brought into public access 

Coastal path closures and beach safety

View South West Coast Path closures and route changes and get advice on beach safety and fossil hunting.  

Rock climbing restrictions in Dorset

A voluntary wildlife sanctuary zone and climbing restrictions are in place to protect the sensitive wildlife area west of Stairhole, Lulworth Cove.

You should not to enter this sanctuary. The zone is indicated at the cliff top at key points, just before the paths reach the sheer drop of the sanctuary zone.

It's part of a voluntary agreement that relates to both formal and informal climbing in the wider area. Many areas of the cliffs are too dangerous to climb and extreme weather conditions make them even more unstable.

Climber's code of conduct

The aim of this code is to allow climbers to enjoy access, whilst protecting people, the natural beauty and wildlife.

  • when using approach routes in view of the public, do so without fuss and avoid encouraging non-climbers on the the cliffs
  • do not climb routes above members of the public
  • check for swimmers, divers and kayakers beneath you when soloing
  • comply with local bird restrictions and avoid routes with nesting birds
  • no new bolting or gardening of new routes
  • use only established access routes, as described in climbing guides




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