A MASSIVE landslide has wiped out one of Dorset's most well-trodden routes.

People who visit tourist hotspots Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door will now be diverted away from the cliff edge after the coastal path was destroyed by the cliff fall on Monday (29) night.

Around 80 to 100 metres of cliff 400 yards east of Durdle Door at St Oswald's Bay have crumbled away. No-one was reported injured in the cliff fall.

Walkers are being urged to obey warning signs after the giant landslide.

Dorset County Council has closed the South West Coast Path due to the risk of further landslips.

The coastal path, which was used daily by hundreds of tourists, links two of the county's best known sights.

Nic Lonsdale, duty watch manager at Portland Coastguard, said: "We are urging people to observe the warning signs and stay away from the edge.

“Part of the path has completely gone and we need people to read the warning signs.”

Pictures showing the full extent of the rock fall were taken from the Portland Coastguard Rescue Helicopter.

It was reported to the coastguard by the Lulworth Ranges safety boat team.

Mike Branagan, of Portland Coastguard, said it was fortunate the landslip happened overnight or it could have been 'disastrous'.

He added: “We could see that a member of the public got quite close because of curiousity.

“We want people to take care and please stay away from the cliff edge.

“It's a popular beach that is very close to the Durdle Door Caravan Park and is well used.

“It was lucky that it happened over night or it could have been disastrous.

“We were made aware of it first thing this morning.”

A spokesman for Purbeck District Council said Dorset County Council has closed the South West Coast Path from Durdle Door to Lulworth Cove due to the landslide and the risk of further landslips.

He added: “Warning signs are in place and an alternative route has been signposted which follows existing rights of way taking people away from the cliff edge.

“When enjoying our fantastic landscape, please take extreme care, especially when walking along or under any cliff edge.

“Use your common sense, be vigilant and take heed of any warning signs.”

John Hayes, senior ranger for Dorset County Council, said a temporary diversion has been put in place.

He addedL “We need to establish the stability of the cliff before any further decisions about the area are considered.

“However, our advice, as always, is to stay away from the cliffs and take note of local safety signs in the area.”

Richard Edmunds, earth science manager, with the Jurassic coast team said the largest similar rockfall last happened in April 2000 at Mupe Bay.

He added: This type of event is very unusual. This is an eroding coastline which brings its own hazards. Our advice as always is to take care and stay away from the cliffs.”

EARLIER this month there were cliff falls west of Lulworth Cove and the the coastal path was affected.

Fresh cliff-falls and cracks occured along the section of coast from Bat's Head to White Nothe.

Cliffs have also been wearing away at Brandy Bay, east of Lulworth Cove.

Record levels of rainfall have caused the highest rate of cliff falls ever seen in one year along the 630-mile stretch of the South West Coast Path.

There are usually two or three a year but between November last year and mid-January this year there have been 21. Some 17 diversions are now in place along the path.

A spate of landslips also caused walkers to get stuck in the mud in Swanage earlier this year.

Coastguard officers asked the public not to ignore warning signs placed on the beach.