Ringstead Bay and Burning Cliff

A large area that encompasses the downs overlooking Ringstead Bay down to the shingle beach via the Burning Cliff. 

 

Site Name Ringstead Bay and Burning Cliff
Protection
  • National Trust
  • Site of Scientific Interest
Interest
5
County Dorset
More Information https://wessexcoastgeology.soton.ac.uk/kimfire.htm
SSSI https://designatedsites.naturalengland.org.uk/SiteDetail.aspx?SiteCode=S1002501…
Site Projects
Ringstead Bay and Burning Cliff

Ringstead Bay and Burning Cliff: have you got a light -

Ringstead Bay lies on the Dorset coast between Osmington Mills and White Nothe point. It is a beauty spot and much of the area is owned by the National Trust who provide a free car park high on the hill overlooking the bay from where one gets lovely views to Portland and Weymouth to the west and to White Nothe to the east. The bay has a shingle beach which is popular in summer with bathers. There are steep paths down from the car park to the beach.

There have been significant land falls here in the past and soft material has tumbled down to the beach and here there is much to interest the botanist. Higher up the cliff the floral interest is supplemented by lots of insects which are especially prevalent in late summer on a warm day.

That is Ringstead Bay but why the burning cliff? The geology here (and along the whole of the Purbeck Coast) is quite complex but there is a layer of oil and gas shale exposed by the land slips here and this burns slowly giving off wisps of smoke. Check out the Southampton University geology article I have included attached for a more detailed explanation.  

Ringstead Bay and Burning Cliff

50.632125484167, -2.336620433659
National Trust, Site of Scientific Interest
5
These are the habitat types that MAY be present on the site based on the species recorded there (top 10 only shown):
Phase 1 Habitat Types Description No of Species
A1.1

Broad-leaf Woodland

15
H6

Sand Dunes

15
J1

Cultivated/disturbed land

15
B3

Calcareous Grassland

14
D1

Dwarf Shrub Heath

14
A1.3

Mixed Woodland

11
A2

Scrub

11
F2

Water Margin & Inundation Vegetation

11
H8

Maritime cliff and slope

11
B2

Neutral Grassland

9
These are the number of species for NVC codes on the site - it DOES NOT mean that the NVC community is actually present on the site: it might be! (Top 10 only shown):
NVC Community Description No of Species
MG01

Arrhenatherum elatius [False Oat-grass] grassland

20
W08

Fraxinus excelsior - Acer campestre - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Field Maple/Dog's Mercury] woodland

19
W09

Fraxinus excelsior - Sorbus aucuparia - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Rowan/Dog's Mercury] woodland

17
W10

Quercus robur - Pteridium aquilinum - Rubus fruticosus [Pedunculate Oak/Bracken/Bramble] woodland

16
MG05

Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigra [Crested Dogs-tail/Black knapweed] grassland

15
CG03

Bromopsis erecta [Upright Brome] grassland

13
CG06

Helictotrichon pubescens [Downy Oat-grass] grassland

12
CG07

Festuca ovina - Pilosella officinarum - Thymus polytrichum [Sheeps Fescue/Mouse-ear hawkweed/Wild Thyme] grassland

12
W07

Alnus - Fraxinus - Lysimachia nemorum [Alder/Ash/Yellow Pimpernel] woodland

12
CG02

Festuca ovina - Helictotrichon pratense [Sheep's Fescue/Meadow Oat-grass] grassland

11
Site Notables
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The number of species recorded per species group: