RANGERS have closed part of the coast path on Portland due to landslide fears.

The South West Coast Path between Tout and Blacknor was closed to the public following 'substantial' movement and rockfalls caused by heavy rainfall.

The move comes just days after coastguards warned walkers to use 'common sense' when walking on the cliff tops along the Jurrassic Coast.

Lyn Cooch, of the Dorset Countryside coastal ranger team, said: “Due to the heavy rainfall there is new evidence of substantial landslide movement along the coast path and in the slopes below the cliff top.

“This includes a number of new joints opening up north to south along the line of the coast path and significant amount of movement, including rock fall on slopes immediately below the bridge to the north of Blacknor.”

She added: “Experience has shown that these landslides can be slow and progressive, but quite clearly, they could also collapse quickly and unexpectedly, especially after such extreme rainfall.

“Therefore, this section of the coast path has been closed for the next few months for close monitoring and review.

“If no further movement takes place it will be reopened once repairs to the coast path have been completed.”

Walkers are advised not to use the section of path and footpath closed signs have been put in place.

Diversion notices and maps are expected to be set up by the end of the week.

A spokeswoman for Portland Coastguard warned members of the public to 'take heed' of the signs.

She said: “Anywhere on the coast is so unstable at the moment because of the amount of rain we have had, and now it is getting colder, that can also have an effect.

“People should stay away from cliff edges, areas immediately under the cliff, areas where there have been recent landslips, or anything that looks unstable.

“It is very important that people take good heed of warning signs, as we know there are some people who are ignoring these.”

COASTGUARDS and council leaders put out a warning on Monday (jan 7) after months of wet weather caused cliffs along the length of the Dorset coastline to become unstable.

The stretch of coastal path between Kimmeridge Bay and Chapman's Pool is closed to the public, and the area between Bowleaze Cove and Osmington is being monitored by the coastal ranger team.

Walkers are advised to check the weather forecast before venturing out, and to be aware of tide times to avoid getting cut off.