Beaches in West Dorset
Along the West Dorset Heritage Coastline there are a variety of beaches, where you can bathe, fish, dive, sail, walk - or simply admire the stunning views.
There are two harbours in West Dorset - Bridport (West Bay) and Lyme Regis. Both are owned and operated by West Dorset District Council.
Sea and shore angling are extremely popular along the coast. The harbours at Lyme Regis and West Bay provide opportunities for sea fishing and popular for shore angling is Chesil Beach, with bass, cod, mackerel and plaice all regularly caught depending on the time of year. The beaches at Cogden, West Bexington and Abbotsbury are the most popular and easily accessible spots.
Anyone over the age of 12 fishing in freshwaters in England or Wales must have a valid Environment Agency rod licence. No licence is required to fish from the beach. Rod licences are available from Post Offices, the Environment Agency website (opens in a new window) or by telephoning 0870 1662 662.
Windsurfing is normally conducted on the eastern side at West Bay and Lyme Regis with caution, weather permitting.
Beaches can, at times, be dangerous - please see the beach safety page before planing your visit.
Abbotsbury - Chesil beach and Fleet Lagoon Nature Reserve
A shelving beach made up of pebbles and shingle. Close to the beach is the village of Abbotsbury, where there are three main attractions - Swannery, Sub Tropical Gardens and Children's Farm. The village is approximately one mile from the beach. There are services and cafes / pubs in the village.
It is also the site of the Chesil and Fleet Nature Reserve. There are stunning views across to Weymouth and Portland and to the east is the beautiful site of Golden Cap. Dogs are allowed, seasonal parking, toilets (with radar key).
A shelving shingle beach, close to the village of Burton Bradstock. On a clear day visitors can enjoy breath-taking views round to Portland and right the way round to the East Devon Coast. No dogs allowed between 1 May - 30 September, except on East Beach. Toilets and car park available.
This beach is slightly shelving and is made up of pebbles and sand. Charmouth is famous, along with Lyme Regis, for its fossils, especially in winter months due to the rough seas. Charmouth is located two miles from Lyme Regis and six miles from Bridport.
At the Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre you can find out how to hunt for your own fossils by joining one of the regular guided fossil walks. Guided walks are held Feb - Sept (tides permitting). The coast path continues eastwards to Lyme Regis and East Devon and westwards to Seatown and Golden Cap.
No Dogs allowed on the East Beach in July and August from 10am to 6pm nor on West Beach at any time from 1 May to 30 September. Toilets available and car parking is within walking distance.
Owned by the National Trust, this steep shelving, shingle beach is located on the coast road between Burton Bradstock and Abbotsbury (B3157). Car parking is free with direct access to the beach via a footpath across a field. Dog allowed, toilets available but no car parking.
A steeply shelving pebble beach. Located three miles from Bridport. Walkers can enjoy breathtaking views across the West Dorset coast. Dogs are allowed, there is parking a short walk from the beach and no toilets.
Lyme Regis is a picturesque and historic seaside town set in an area of outstanding natural beauty. A town of steep streets, its most outstanding feature is a delightful 13th century harbour known as the Cobb. The beaches in Lyme Regis are a mixture of sand and pebbles. Monmouth beach is very pebbly and shelves. The Front beach is a flat, sandy beach, as is Cobb Gate.
There is a Lifeboat and coastguard station. Walk along the historic Cobb for exquisite views back along the West Dorset and East Devon Coast. Fossil hunting is popular - Contact the Lyme Regis TIC for more information.
No dogs allowed between 1 April - 31 October on the Front Beach from Cobb Gate Car Park west to the Lifeboat slipway. Dogs are allowed on the beach at other times, provided they are kept on a lead. Short stay car park is near the Cobb Gate and there are two short stay and one long stay near Monmouth beach. Toilets available.
You are also advised to beware of the cliffs east of Lyme Regis. Landslides often occur here and an old landfill has been uncovered. Please pay attention to the warning signs here.
A protected shingle beach over looking Weymouth Bay. Dogs are allowed, and there is both car parking and toilet facilities available.
A steep shelving beach with pebbles and shingle. No dogs are allowed at any time. There is both car parking and toilet facilities available.
Shingle, sand and pebbles. Steep shelving. Slipway and Harbour. Auxiliary coastguard. No dogs allowed between 1 May - 1 October on the East Pier to the East Cliffs, of the West Pier to the West Cliffs. Dogs must be kept on a lead in the port area. Car parking and toilets are available.
A shingle beach that shelves steeply. Walking is popular around this area and like many of the other beaches in the area the views to the East and West are superb. Dogs allowed in the restricted area, there is both car parking and toilet facilities available.
Beach patrols in West Dorset
Lifeguard cover is provided on the busy beaches at Lyme Regis and West Bay throughout the lively summer period.
Name: Bridport Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01308 424901
Fax: 01308 421060
Full details for Bridport Tourist Information Centre
Name: Lyme Regis Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01297 442138
Fax: 01297 444668
Full details for Lyme Regis Tourist Information Centre
Name: Dorchester Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01305 267992
Fax: 01305 266079
Full details for Dorchester Tourist Information Centre
Name: Sherborne Tourist Information Centre
Tel: 01935 815341
Fax: 01935 817210
Full details for Sherborne Tourist Information Centre