Highlight: The Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs

View from the Undercliffs looking east
View from the Undercliffs looking east. Photo: Tom Sunderland Natural England

Between Axmouth in East Devon and Lyme Regis in Dorset the geology of the coast has helped create one of the great wilderness areas of southern England, now a National Nature Reserve. Sandstone and chalk slipping over clay and limestone has left a ragged coastline dissected by some of the largest coastal landslides in the country.

Amongst the seven miles of broken ground an incredible diversity of wildlife and plant life has become established. Pioneering species can be found colonising fresh rock and clay surfaces exposed by ground movement. They live side by side with wild woodland and grassy meadows that have developed on the more stable parts of the Nature Reserve.

Weaving its way through all this is the South West Coast Path. Making your way along it involves traversing some pretty rough terrain as the path crosses the slipped and torn landscape of the undercliffs, but it is worth it. There are few opportunities to encounter nature so untamed and here, more than any other part of the Jurassic Coast, there is a sense that people are only passing through, guests of the wild inhabitants who are the true owners of this place.