Walk - Seaton to Lyme Regis through the Undercliffs - Part 2
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2021. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
The Undercliff National Nature Reserve, which is managed by Natural England, is one of the largest active coastal landslide systems in Western Europe. The National Nature Reserve forms part of the 95 mile long Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and contains rocks from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods of geological time. The rocks get younger as you walk from Axmouth in the west to Lyme Regis in the east.
In addition to the geological interest, the reserve is important for wildlife. It forms part of the Sidmouth to West Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and is also part of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Woodland covers the majority of the reserve and the unstable terrain is dominated mainly by ash and field maple woodland. The reserve is sheltered, south facing and often relatively hot and humid providing ideal growing conditions for ferns including the characteristic Hart’s tongue fern. Away from the path the cliffs and unstable terrain also provide a haven for a variety of specialist insects and other plants. In some parts of the reserve non-native species including holm oak, rhododendron and laurel can be seen and the spread of these is being controlled.
- Keep following the South West Coast Path heading towards Lyme Regis.
Walkers should keep to the footpath through the Undercliff. There are deep fissures hidden by dense vegetation and no means of access away from the coast path.
- After emerging from the Undercliff the Coast Path turns right and descends through fields to Lyme Regis seafront.
You may recognise the harbour at Lyme Regis from its starring role in the film of the French Lieutenants Woman.
It dates from the 13th century and over the years has seen many real dramas, including its role in the defeat of the Spanish Amada, it was fought over during the 1st Civil War, in the 17th century was a major trading port with the American colonies and in the 18th century was the port of departure for many emigrants to America.
- The Coast Path continues along the seafront to the main part of town from where you can catch a bus back to Seaton.
However, rather than rush back it is worth visiting the award-winning Lyme Regis Museum where you can find great displays on fossils and the history of Lyme Regis.
Seaton and Lyme Regis.