Dorset

Dancing Ledge: Conduct code agreed for sea cliff attraction

Dancing Ledge Image copyright N Chadwick
Image caption Dancing Ledge is a remnant of Purbeck's quarrying industry

A beauty spot on the Dorset coast is set to have a visitors' code of conduct after concerns about the activities of commercial adventure groups.

Local residents said rock climbing and coasteering groups were putting pressure on Dancing Ledge near Swanage.

Landowner, the National Trust, said its use had reached "tipping point".

The code sets a limit on the numbers of commercial visitors allowed, as well as issuing guidelines on parking and environmental protection.

National Trust spokesman Jonathan Kershaw said: "We were aware the level of use was increasing - several issues were brought to our attention - including parking, how activity centres were behaving in the area.

"The aim is to both improve the experience for the general public and also the commercial users - so they get enough time on their climbs and in the water."

'Unsustainable' use

A group was set up to develop the code of conduct. It included Langton Matravers villagers and activity providers.

Numbers using the site at one time have been limited to 96 - previous use hit 200 at peak times.

The code, to be introduced in March, also includes guidelines on parking, footpath access, toilet facilities and protecting nesting birds.

Matt King, mountain instructor with Brenscombe Adventure Centre, admitted use of the site, used to train young climbers, had been "unsustainable".

"It's a hard balance to strike - there are a lot of really good people working hard to help build young people's self-esteem - there needs to be a collaborative approach.

"The reality is everyone's experience is diminished by the numbers of people being there and this provides a management system in place into the future."

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