Dancing Ledge used to be a coastal quarry. The views from here are stunning, even if the fossils are poorly preserved and uncommon. You can stand on Dancing Ledge watching the waves crashing into the cliff. This is a location worth a visit just for the views.
♦ Drive to Langton Matravers and you will find a car park to the south of the village, down a narrow road to Spyway Barn.
♦ From here, follow the footpath south through the farm, in a straight line and over the field. You will then come to an old quarry, with a board telling you about Dancing Ledge.
♦ Along the walk, you will pass some stones originally from the old quarry. Part of the footpath (including the steps), is also made from this rock.
♦ Although this location is poor for fossils, there is a spectacular view at the end of the walk.
♦ Ref: 50.60445°N, 2.00577°W
FIND FREQUENCY: ♦♦ – Dancing Ledge has some superb views. You can watch the sea crashing against the cliffs, but fossils are few and far between.
CHILDREN: ♦♦ – The walk to the site is a bit far for younger children. Everyone should be careful to keep away from the edge of the ledge and cliff. Children must be supervised at all times.
ACCESS: ♦♦ – Dancing Ledge is a remote location with a long walk down a fairly steep hill. While the walk is not too difficult, it is the long climb back up that can be challenging.
TYPE: – Dancing Ledge is an old coastal quarry, cut into the side of a cliff. It has a ledge on which you can stand and watch the sea crashing into the cliffs below.
This site is part of the Jurassic World Heritage Coastline, so follow the Fossil Code of Conduct. This is a SSSI and no hammering is allowed on the bedrock or cliff. Damage has already been caused to the heritage site by people using power tools. This is strictly against SSSI rules and any attempt to ignore them may result in prosecution.
The best fossils are those found within the boulders on the quarry floor and it is highly unlikely you will see fossils in the cliff face. Any fossils you do find are best photographed at this location and left for other to view.
Dancing Ledge is made of Portland Stone from the Upper Jurassic. It has a similar succession to that found at Seatown, but with the Purbeck Group at its eastern end. The following beds are all present here: the Shrimp Bed, Titanites Bed, Pond Freestone, Chert Vein, Listy Bed, House Cap, Under Picking Cap and Bottom Freestone.
Dancing Ledge is an old quarry. The actual shore is not accessible, as the sea always reaches the base of the ledge. Keep away from the edge and the quarry cliff faces. In particular, the area at the back of the old quarry (opposite the sea) is overhanging, sot should also be avoided.
The rocks are very hard at Dancing Ledge. Most fossils are found within the boulders on the floor of the quarry. Therefore, the most important bit of equipment to use here is a camera to record what you see.
This site is an SSSI and forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast. This means you can visit the site, but hammering the bedrock is not permitted. For full information about the reasons for the status of the site and restrictions please download the PDF from Natural England – SSSI Information – South Dorset