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Coastal access in Dorset

Coast path closures

View South West Coast Path closures and route changes.

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 include:

  • 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 

Rock climbing restrictions in Purbeck

Climbing restrictions and a voluntary Wildlife Sanctuary Zone are in place to protect the sensitive wildlife area west of Stairhole, Lulworth Cove.

You should not 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 climbing:

  • do not climb routes above members of the public
  • when using approach routes in view of the public, do so without fuss and avoid encouraging non-climbers on the the cliffs
  • 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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