Case study - the Dorset coast

Land uses

The relative importance of these land uses will vary, depending on the nature of the rocks and the physical landscape. Forestry will be more important in a glaciated area such as the Lake District, than in a coastal area like the Dorset coast.

Three land uses which are important on the Dorset coast are recreation, tourism, farming and industry. The most important being tourism.

Land Uses for Glaciated Uplands


A warm, sunny climate with fertile soils on the flat land behind the coast allows arable and pastoral farming to take place.

Oyster, mussel farming and fishing takes place at Poole Harbour.


There are different types of industries located along the Dorset coast:

  • Oil - Britain’s sixth largest oil field is located at Poole Harbour.
  • Quarrying – high quality limestone is quarried on the Isle of Portland.
  • Sheltered harbours, eg Portland Harbour, which provide direct access to the English Channel – a major shipping route for imports and exports to and from Europe.
  • The Bournemouth Conference Centre is a service industry that helps to provide year-round jobs.

Recreation and tourism

The Dorset coast has many resorts, eg Swanage, providing tourist services including hotels, souvenir shops and restaurants.

There are beautiful beaches such as Chesil Beach for sunbathing and beach sports.

The Dorset coast provides opportunities for different water sports. These include swimming, water skiing, windsurfing and yachting.

There are a number of historic attractions which bring visitors to the area. These include Corfe Castle, Thomas Hardy's cottage and a number of historic ruins. Activities also include fossil hunting and the unusual geology of the area encourages educational groups to study a variety of rock types.

The area along the Dorset coast has many coastal footpaths where walkers can enjoy the stunning and varied coastal scenery. People come to see and photograph landscape features such as Durdle Door.

The coastline also has diverse wildlife, because of the variety of habitats that are formed there such as sand dunes, lagoons, salt flats and calm bays.

Renewable energy

There is the potential to generate electricity through wind and wave power in this area, in addition to nuclear power stations as there is plenty of sea-water to cool the reactors.