Lucky escape for cliff fall dog on Ballard Down

Stuck on a small ledge after going over the cliff at Ballard Down near Swanage in Dorset, coastguard teams dashed to the rescue of Woody the dog.

He’d been going for a walk with his owner on Thursday 20th July 2023 on Ballard Down close to Old Harry when Woody fell over the cliff edge.

Dog rescued by Swanage Coastguard and RNLI
Library image / Swanage Coastguard

The coastguard regularly train for incidents that require climbing down cliffs. This was for the rescue of another dog in January 2023

Large drop below

Coastguard teams from Swanage, St Albans and Kimmeridge were soon on the scene and saw that Woody was just over the edge. Luckily he’d landed on a small ledge but there was a large drop below him.

During the incident Woody could be heard barking and with concern growing over the small size of the ledge, the coastguard teams quickly started to work on a safe plan to rescue him.

The coastguard regularly undertakes rope training in order to be able to reach people who are stuck on or at the bottom of cliffs, but this time their skills were going to be deployed to save a family pet.

Woody the dog rescued from Ballard Down fall
Swanage Coastguard

Woody was thirsty after his adventure

“Huge relief”

However there was a surprise which meant that the ropes weren’t going to be needed after all. Swanage Coastguard reported:

“Suddenly with the owner calling to Woody there was huge relief when over the cliff came the dog without assistance, back to their owner.

“With a cool drink for all those on scene and a check over of Woody, the owner thanked all those who turned out for the rescue.”

In a coastal emergency, people are reminded to dial 999 and ask for the coastguard.

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