About our project

Our aim is to manage recreation in the AONB so that any negative impact of visitors on the natural environment is reduced. We want to connect people to place and nature; establishing a much needed link to our natural heritage in today’s modern society.

There are 12.6 million day trips and 1.8 million staying trips to Dorset AONB every year. Tourism supports nearly 13,000 full time equivalent jobs in the AONB and visitor spend contributes £860 million to the local economy (2016 figures).

Dorset’s outstanding landscape is the main reason most people visit the area. It underpins our tourism based economy and plays a huge role in supporting local services.

Our role is to manage the impact of visitors so that the AONB retains its natural beauty and special qualities and is passed on to future generations in at least as good condition as it is currently. Helping people enjoy and understand the area establishes an appreciation and engagement with the place, which in turn creates a desire to protect the environment.

The Dorset AONB also has responsibility for visitor management and tourism related work along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Tourism in protected areas is a major part of the global tourism industry – an industry whose scale and impacts are enormous.

- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) 2018

What we do

Help local people and visitors explore, understand and engage with the landscape; encourage sustainable tourism; work with a wide range of partners, communities and businesses.

The sort of projects we work on:

Making beautiful spaces

Improving the aesthetics of places where visitors congregate to find information or to simply ‘be’, through sensitive re-landscaping and introducing local beautiful features; for example, dry stone walls or artist-designed seating.

Reducing clutter in the countryside

Projects to remove clutter along the Jurassic Coast and in the countryside by reducing, rationalising and improving interpretation. We know people become ‘sign blind’- one clear, attractive interpretation panel will have a far more positive impact than a cluster of panels saying the same thing in different ways. Times have changed and people now access their information digitally so there really is no need to bombard them with words in the landscape.

Hive Beach car park 'before'
Hive Beach car park 'after'. Landscaping and interpretation improvements, working in partnership with the National Trust, Jurassic Coast Trust and Dorset Council Natural Environment Team.

Encouraging responsible visits

Dorset AONB has an active role in promoting ‘out of season’ tourism and sustainable travel, through:

• Encouraging use of public transport
• Improving information at train stations and on-line to make forward exploration by bus, foot or bike simple and easy
• Promoting walks and cycle rides
• Encouraging people to try local food and drink
• Promoting things to see and do out of the main summer holidays, including events

We also provide information on safety and codes of conduct. This includes:

• Clearly communicating safety information, especially along the Jurassic Coast, to raise awareness and understanding of the potential hazards on a dynamic, ever changing coast
• Aiming to reduce litter in the marine environment, coast and countryside by working with local organisations such as Litter Free Dorset and Litter Free Coast and Sea

Hive Beach, Burton Bradstock taken by Kevin Freeman

Enjoy the coast safely

  • Always stay away from the cliffs and never lie or sit under them
  • Rock falls and landslides can happen at any time and if 1000 tonnes of rock falls on you, you won’t survive
  • Know your tides to avoid getting cut off when the sea comes in. There are tide time apps available or check local information
  • Don’t get stuck in the mud – the best place to find fossils is on the beach, not in the cliffs
  • Keep dogs on a lead if anywhere near the cliff tops

Get in touch

For more information about Tourism and Visitor Management work, please contact Sally King, Visitor, Tourism and Access Manager (joint post with Jurassic Coast Trust).