Ringstead Bay is a small gently curved beach near the coastal hamlet of Ringstead. As beaches go it’s a fairly quiet spot that’s easy to get to - if you want it to be…
For a family with the usual beach clutter, for a pay-all-day fee of a around a fiver, you can park the car and then walk a hundred metres or so and be on the beach.
The beach itself is shingle with a pleasant outlook over Weymouth Bay across to the Isle of Portland. If you’ve got really small children who demand sand, then this may not be the place for them, and you may find yourself forced back to the hustle and bustle of Weymouth Sands. But for older kids, who don’t mind pebbles then Ringstead could be just the thing. They’ll love having their own little adventures making their way from the beach to the Ringstead Ledge. This is a small outcrop of rock which appears when the tide it low.
Like much of the seabed here, the Ledge is rich with seaweed, which makes swimming and paddling not for the squeamish. But for anyone else, and boys in particular, the Ringstead Ledge is a magnet. Why? Who knows. Perhaps it's the achievement of swimming or paddling across the fairly small channel to the rocks. Or maybe it's the fun of exploring the pools on top. Or just maybe, secretly, they (and maybe their Dads) imagine this as a pirate or smugglers island where lies hidden contraband or booty. Either way, it a fun thing to do! Just don’t slip on the weed and bash your bonce!
As well as being fun for kids, Ringstead is also good news for grown ups.
Often, the best beaches are surrounded by a hinterland of seaside town, which is great if you prefer an urban back-drop to your bathing. Ringstead, on the other hand, is fairly rural. There are a few houses, bungalows and caravans along the shore, but only a few. Other than that, there’s grass-field car park, a café-shop, some public toilets and that’s about it. This gives the beach here a whole “different” sort of feel to many other “resort” beaches you might visit.
It also gives visitors a whole different set of options of what to do at the beach.
Yes, you can swim, paddle, play with a boat or canoe if you’re lucky enough to have one, have a picnic, buy an ice-cream, sunbath and enjoy the view. All things you might do on any other beach. But whereas when you tire of that on most beaches you might decide to wander along the sea front or go for some retail therapy in the town, at Ringstead you can’t! ‘Cos there isn’t a see front to speak of and the nearest town is Weymouth, which you can see across the bay from the beach - a mighty swim away.
But, and it is a big but, what you can do at Ringstead is take in some amazing walks and views. Behind the beach across some lower lying fields is Ringstead Hill, owned by the National Trust and a piece of Countryside Access land. You can drive up here, park for free and take in amazing high level views of Ringtead and Weymouth Bays and to the East “Burning Cliff” and “White Nothe”.
To the West is Osmington Mills and Redcliff.
Burning Cliff, so called because oil shale and iron pyorites once reacted together so that the cliff did catch fire all by itself, sits below the South West Coast Path, which also runs through Ringstead Village and out to White Nothe and beyond. By combining the Coast Path with other local public footpaths there are various options which will take you from beach to cliffs to hill and vice versa.
For those brave enough to try, you could even park atop the Hill at Ringstead and walk down to the Beach from there. Most though, use the top of the Hill either simply as a view point or as a starting or staging point for attacking another section of the South West Coast Path, often heading Eastwards to Durdle Door and Lulworth.
So there you have it. Ringstead. A quiet pebbly beach in the countryside. A great place to sit and enjoy the view. And an excellent place to go for a coastal and countryside walk. What more could you want!
Ringstead. A quiet pebbly beach in the countryside. A great place to sit and enjoy the view. And an excellent place to go for a coastal and countryside walk. What more could you want!"