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Ringstead Bay and Burning Cliff

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


 

Ringstead Bay and Burning Cliff: have you got a light

Post date: Saturday, 9 January, 2016 - 21:06

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 insect 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 in Internet resources below for a more detailed explanation.


 

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