A WOMAN slipped and fell from a cliff near Durdle Door trying to take a shortcut in an ‘ill-judged accident’, witnesses say.

Police say the woman in her 40s was from the West Midlands area and they are not treating her death as suspicious.

Witnesses described the woman losing her footing on rocks and falling down a cliff at Man O’War beach on Monday.

A crowd had gathered on the beach and on the cliff and urged her to remain where she was as rescuers were on their way, according to witness accounts.

Emergency services, including police, ambulance crews and firefighters, were called at 3.07pm.

The woman, who has not been formally identified, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her daughter who had been with her was treated for shock by ambulance crews.

A man from Bournemouth, who asked not to be named, recalled how the woman reportedly tried to take a shortcut down the cliffs, avoiding the slower route on the steps.

He said: “There were over 100 people there on the beach and some were calling the police and emergency services. People watching her were trying to tell her to stay still on the rocks but I don’t think she understood or heard.

“She attempted to climb over a rock and then go onto another but she slipped down the hill, hit her head on the hill and fell to the floor. It was a shocking thing to see, that. I hope her family is OK.”

Another witness described it as an ‘ill-judged accident’.

He said: “She somehow got about midway down the rock face where she was able to stay if she pleased. Hundreds of people on the beach and those above her were telling her to stay there but unfortunately she attempted to manoeuvre on her bottom down the rocks, shortly before she made her last manoeuvre she said 'I’ll just have a look'.

“It was definitely an ill-judged accident.”

Another witness shared an account of what happened online and expressed her condolences to her family.

She said: “She was climbing down the cliff thinking she could get to the beach. Everyone was telling her to stop and there was nothing anyone could do. It was extremely saddening to witness. My condolences go out to her family.”

Many people online have shared tributes to the woman, with one expressing her ‘sincere and heartfelt condolences to her family and friends’ and another shared how ‘seeing this happen makes you realise how precious life is’.

Dorset Police is investigating the circumstances of the death.

A spokesman said: “At 3.07pm on Monday, June 14, Dorset Police received a report that a woman aged in her 40s from the West Midlands area had fallen from a cliff at Durdle Door near Lulworth.

“Officers attended together with other emergency services colleagues.

“Sadly, the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Officers are supporting her next of kin and will be conducting enquiries following this tragic incident on behalf of HM Coroner.

“There were no suspicious circumstances.”