Dorset Coast: Isle of Portland to Studland Cliffs IPA

Location: Coast between Portland and Swanage, Dorset, south of the A351, 352 & 353.

Grid Reference: SY 813 801


Dorset Coast: Isle of Portland to Studland Cliffs IPA has been recognised as one of 165 Important Plant Areas in the UK.

The key features of this IPA are:

  • The species richness of bryophytes on Dry grassland: Calcareous – Limestone
  • The species richness of lichens on Coastal dune and sand habitats: acid sand dunes
  • The species richness of marine algae on Littoral rock and other hard substrata; Sublittoral rock and other hard substrata
  • The species richness of vascular plants on rock cliffs ledges and shores and coastal shingle habitats
  • The cliffs of the Portland and Dorset Coastline are formed of hard limestone and chalk interspersed with slumped sections of soft cliff of sand and clays.

    The coastal zone of soft, sandy cliffs extends between the two natural harbours of Poole and Christchurch to an extensive dune system at Studland. The cliffs support species-rich calcareous grassland with species that are rare in the UK.

    The site also supports rare and endangered marine algae found on littoral rock, lichens found in both coastal dunes and acid sand dunes.

    Image:Lulworth Cove, Dorset © sagesolar under CC BY 2.0