Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs

About this route

This magnificent 304 hectare nature reserve, managed by Natural England, offers dramatic coastal scenery and is of international importance for its geological and geomorphological features and wildlife.  These can be viewed from the beach or, even better, from a boat.

Travelling from Axmouth to Lyme Regis, the rocks get younger, providing a rare opportunity to observe ‘geological time’. In the west, near Axmouth, 235 million-year-old red mudstones deposited during the arid Triassic Period can be seen. The grey bands are the remains of old salt lakes. Heading east, these are replaced by 195 million-year-old grey mudstones and limestones of the Lias (the oldest part of the Jurassic Period). These Jurassic sediments were laid down in warm, shallow tropical seas and can yield the fossils of marine animals. Ammonites are not uncommon and past discoveries have included marine reptiles such as ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs.

Please leave all in-situ fossils for others to enjoy.

Getting Around

By bus: there are bus connections from the train stations at Axminster and Weymouth to Seaton and Lyme Regis, visit the Travel Devon website for more information.


By car: there are public car parks at both Seaton and Lyme Regis.


By boat: there are trips from Beer and Lyme Regis.

The South West Coast Path runs for about seven miles through the reserve and is the only access route. For your safety please stick to this path. There is no public access to the beach or road. The path has many steps which can be slippery when wet.

Interesting information

This site is a National Nature Reserve (NNR), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), World Heritage Site (WHS), Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In places along this stretch, the rocks are overlain by the more recent sandstones, clays and chalk of the Cretaceous Period, laid down in marine conditions about 70 million years ago.

Extensive and dramatic landslides have also heavily influenced the coastline as you see it today and it is not unusual for the more recent Cretaceous rocks to have slipped down to beach level.

Photo of coastal cliffs with chalk cliffs in the background
Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs NNR Copyright Tony Atkin, licenced for reuse - see

You can explore more in this area

Photo of white grassland flowers

Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs

This magnificent reserve comprises 304 hectares of coastal landslides and cliffs – one of the largest such areas in Britain.