Tucked below the cliffs near Langton Matravers and Worth Matravers stands one of the Purbeck’s most iconic landmarks, Dancing Ledge. Dancing Ledge boasts a unique flat rock formation and stunning sea views. It is one of the most idyllic natural beauty spots on the Jurassic Coast.
Although the origin of the name ‘Dancing Ledge’ is unproven, there are two main theories. Some believe that the beauty spot is so named because when the waves roll over the rocks from the sea, the ledge looks like it is dancing. Others think it is because the rock area is just the right size for a ballroom.
Whatever you choose to believe, one thing isn’t up for debate – Dancing Ledge is as historically and geologically important as it is beautiful. It was once a key site for quarrying Purbeck Stone, before becoming a hotspot for smugglers, who used the area of flat rock as a simple way of getting on land from the sea.
Today, Dancing Ledge is popular with locals and tourists who enjoy admiring the views, exploring the many surrounding footpaths and bridleways, and reaching new heights Coasteering and Climbing on the famed rocks.
Photo credit: Hardo Müller | Flickr
School Trips at Dancing Ledge
Cumulus Outdoors are one of the best providers of adventure residential school trips on the Jurassic Coast. Dancing Ledge is just one of the many locations that residential groups can visit whilst on a Dorset school trip at Cumulus Outdoors. Our 25-year experience has allowed us to streamline our residential offering to provide the ultimate adventure experience for studenst of all ages!
Our Residential Centre accommodates 139 students across 3 dormitories, and is set within 7 acres of fun-filled grounds.
Tented Villages are set in scenic locations across Dorset, and offer an authentic outdoors experience for groups. Students will love gathering around the campfire for fun activities and visiting the central Nordic Tipi tent.
We create bespoke school trips, which means you can choose the activities your group will enjoy the most. Our activities aim to promote a healthy lifestyle, problem solving, working as a team and building confidence.
We also run a variety of Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residentials throughout the year. Many of these include outdoor adventure activity sessions at Dancing Ledge.
Field Studies Trips at Dancing Ledge
The Jurassic Coast is the perfect place to put classroom learning into practice! There are many reasons why the Jurassic Coast draws millions of visitors each year – It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the only place on earth where you can find geology from the Jurassic, Triassic and Cretaceous periods together.
We offer primary level and secondary level field studies packages at Cumulus Outdoors that can include trips to key locations along the Jurassic Coast, including sites close to Dancing Ledge. Younger children will learn about environmental education, geography, history and more, whilst older students can gain knowledge to assist their AS/A-Level studies. We can also accommodate higher education on request.
Outdoor Activities at Dancing Ledge
We are pleased to offer coasteering and climbing activities at Dancing Ledge! It’s one of many beauty spots we frequent along the Jurassic Coast as part of our outdoor adventure activity sessions on the Jurassic Coast. We operate from our base in Spyway Carpark, where our expert instructors will greet you and get your ready for the day.
Coasteering at Dancing Ledge
For thrill seekers and keen explorers! Coasteering days start with a 20-minute scenic walk from our base towards Dancing Ledge. Once there, our experienced staff get you kitted up and give you a full safety briefing, before you have the opportunity to do some low level climbing and cave exploration. After this, you’ll follow our pre-established route along cliff faces, and feel your adrenaline pumping as you jump into the water from ledges!
If you fancy something a bit different, you could combine a coasteering session with a thrilling power boat ride from Swanage Pier. You’ll enjoy daring twists and turns and get to see the Jurassic Coast from the sea. From this perspective, you’ll be able to appreciate its scale and beauty in a unique way.
Climbing and Abseiling at Dancing Ledge
Forget indoor man-made climbing walls – the famous cliffs at Dancing Ledge are where we choose to host our unforgettable climbing sessions. Reach new heights and witness the breathtaking coastal scenery in a way you haven’t before! Our climbing sessions are suitable for all abilities. Whether you are a complete beginner hoping to gain basic or you are a more experienced climber looking to take your skills outside, our experienced team are on hand to help you achieve your climbing goals at Dancing Ledge.
Walking Routes at Dancing Ledge
Dancing Ledge is one of the most scenic places to enjoy a walk in the Isle of Purbeck. It’s extremely popular with hikers exploring the Jurassic Coast and it’s just off the South West Coast Path. There are plenty of routes that can incorporate a stop at Dancing Ledge from various start points throughout the local area. Here’s some of our favourites that have been tried and tested by the Cumulus team.
Spyway – (easy route)
This walk starts in Langton Matravers (BH19 3HG), and is a short, flat walk that takes you through Skyway Barn.
Worth Matravers Circular – (moderate route)
This walk begins in Worth Matravers (BH19 3LE). It is a circular route that reaches Dancing Ledge via Seacombe, along the South West Coast Path.
Durlston – (challenging route)
This is another circular walk which starts at Durlston Country Park (BH19 2JL). It is a 6-mile route which takes you past a number of stunning beauty spots.
Your descent to Dancing Ledge
Whichever route you decided to take to reach Dancing Ledge, you will be met with a stone waymarker which indicates the start of your descent. From here, there is a well-signposted path you can follow as it curves down steep hills. On the final part of the route, rocky steps lead you down to Dancing Ledge. It is worth noting that parts of the short walk are quite steep and have loose stones that can be slippery when wet. We recommend taking your time and keeping dogs on a lead.
Photo credit: Jim Champion | Flickr
Don't just take our word for it ...
We booked rock climbing and abseiling with Cumulus Outdoors for a family activity last weekend. All of us thoroughly enjoyed it, especially our 10 year old daughter and 8 year old son. We had truly brilliant time. Our instructor, Josh, was first class - calm, reassuring and clearly very experienced. We knew we were in great hands.
Abseiling and climbing on Dancing Ledge was perfect, challenging enough but not to the extent of becoming off-putting. As a family of four, our three hour session was plenty for each of us to attempt and complete several climbs without the need to rush.
We are going to book coasteering with the firm next and I have no doubt it will be an equally excellent and well-managed experience.
Alex S, TripAdvisor
Great opportunity to use and improve climbing skills. Instructors Steve and Alan were very helpful and professional. Steve quickly assessed the climbing ability of our teenage granddaughters and gave them a lesson which extended their existing knowledge and ability. Dancing ledge is a great place to climb as well as enjoy the beautiful countryside and dramatic coast.