Find the nearest Landscapes & Nature in Dorset
Our Landscape and Nature category brings all Coast Radar’s Dorset listings related to looking for something to do or a place to visit together where they offer some form of the countryside or coast path based activity.
Finding the best things to see and do on a Dorset day out with your family or friends is easy – simply explore the countryside or coast path activity links below, hit the jump to my location button or use the search bar to plan your next Dorset activity.
- Durdle Door is a natural limestone arch on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset, privately owned by the Welds, a family who own 12,000 acres (50 km2) the Lulworth Estate. The name Durdle is derived from an Old English word ‘thirl’ meaning bore or drill. The arch has formed on a concordant coastline where bands of rock run parallel to the shoreline. Here the rock strata are nearly vertical, and the bands of rock are quite narrow. Originally a band of resistant Portland limestone ran along the shore, the same band which can be seen one mile down the coast forming the narrow entrance to Lulworth Cove. Behind this is a 400-foot (120 m) band of weaker rocks which are easily eroded, and behind this is a stronger and much thicker band of chalk, which forms the Purbeck Hills. The limestone and chalk are much closer together here than at Swanage, 10 miles (16 km) to the east, where the distance between them is over 2 miles (3 km). There are at least three reasons for this. First, the beds are highly inclined here, and more gently angled at Swanage. Secondly, some of the beds have been cut out by faulting at Durdle Door; and thirdly, the area around Durdle Door appears to have been unusually shallow, so a much thinner sequence of sediments were deposited here. At Durdle Bay all except a short stretch of the limestone has been completely eroded away by the sea and the remainder forms a small headland where it has protected the clay behind. At the western end this band of limestone has been eroded through, creating the natural arch. Some teams at UNESCO have been working on saving both the arch and the beach which resides by it.
- Brownsea Island offers a varied and beautiful landscape for enjoying the wonders of nature; from the patchworks of woodland, heath and grassy fields in the peaceful and secluded interior, to the cliffs and beaches of the coastline, which offer breathtaking views across the harbour to the Purbeck Hills. No motor vehicles exist on Brownsea Island making it the perfect place to relax. For the more energetic it is possible to explore the island on foot or you can just find a remote spot an enjoy a nice picnic.
- The Blue Pool changes colour from shades of green to turquoise. The deep clay bowls is located within 25 acres of woodland, heath and gorse with marked walks throughout and children play areas and tea house and museum. The red route is suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) the Blue Pool is a former clay pit dug in the 1840’s. The colour change is a mystery but the colour you see is related to the conditions. Dogs allowed on leads.
- At Moors Valley Country Park there is something for all ages. The park is mostly covered by woodland and is ideal if you want to enjoy a peaceful walk or cycle ride through the Forest, experience a ride on the narrow-gauge steam train, play trails for youngsters or for the older adventurous go on a high wire adventure swinging through the tree tops. Go Ape Ringwood, giant obstacle courses up in the trees using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire, and top it all off with the country’s best zip lines
- Cerne Abbas Giant is a huge outline sculpted into the chalk hillside above the village of Cerne Abbas representing a naked, club-wielding giant. The outline is 180ft tall making it Britain’s largest chalk hill figure and probably the most controversial. Managed by the National Trust, although parking is on the roadside and the nearest facilities are in the village Cerne Abbas.
- Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre has amazing fossil collections and provides information on fossils, fossil hunting and the local coastal and marine wildlife. Throughout the year we run guided fossil hunting walks and rock pooling walks along the local Charmouth and Lyme Regis coastline. The Centre also has an extensive education programme. Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre opening times: Summer (Easter – November) The Centre is open daily 10:30 am – 4:30 pm. Winter (November – Easter) The Centre is open from Friday to Monday, 10:30 am – 4:00 pm. Admission to the Centre is FREE however as a small charity donations help keep the Centre open. There are charges for Charmouth fossil hunting walks and rockpool rambles.
- Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens was established in 1765 as a kitchen garden for the nearby castle. Today the 20 acre garden is filled with rare and exotic plants from all over the world. The garden has stunning views of the Dorset Jurassic coastline, a gift shop, the Old Colonial tea-house and a specialist plant nursery.
- The Durlstone Head Globe is on the cliffs of Durlston Head and is often refered to as the “Large Globe” or the “Great Globe”. Erected 1891 the globe is constructed of Portland stone, weighs about 40 tonnes, is 3 metres (10 ft) in diameter and surrounded by a circle of cast iron railings. At the base is a tablet recording distances between stars and planets. To the rear are a series of panels with quotations from the Bible, Shakespeare, the Aeneid and Tennyson and further tables of distances.