Four unique qualities

National Landscapes are designated for their outstanding natural beauty. Natural beauty goes beyond the visual appearance of the landscape, including flora, fauna, geological and physiographical features, manmade, historic and cultural associations and our sensory perceptions of it. The combination of these factors in each area gives a unique sense of place and helps underpin our quality of life.

The natural beauty of this National Landscape is described in a suite of special qualities that together make it unique and outstanding, underpinning its designation as a nationally important protected landscape. These are the elements we need to conserve and enhance for the future and they should be considered in all decisions affecting the National Landscape. This Statement of Significance is based on the 1993 Assessment of the Dorset National Landscape produced by the Countryside Commission.

The special qualities of Dorset National Landscape are:


The National Landscape is much more than one fine landscape – it is a collection of fine landscapes, each with its own characteristics and sense of place, including different landforms, soils and wildlife habitats.

Adonis Blue Butterfly


The contrast and diversity of the National Landscape is reflected in its wildlife. The range of habitats and associated species is unusually rich, including 83% of all British mammal species, 48% of bird species and 70% of butterfly species.

Cultural Connections

Over the centuries, Dorset’s landscapes have inspired poets, authors, scientists and artists, many of whom have left a rich legacy of cultural associations.

Reading the Past

The Dorset National Landscape boasts an unrivalled expression of the interaction of geology, human influence and natural processes in the landscape. In particular, the Dorset National Landscape has an exceptional undeveloped coastline, renowned for its spectacular scenery, geological and ecological interest and unique coastal features including Chesil Beach and the Fleet Lagoon, Lulworth Cove and the Fossil Forest, Durdle Door and Old Harry Rocks.