Stonebarrow walk

Stonebarrow Lane, Charmouth DT6 4RA

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
The small pearl bordered fritillary thrives in the Stonebarrow grassland © National Trust

The small pearl bordered fritillary thrives in the Stonebarrow grassland

Ancient trackways criss cross Stonebarrow hill on the Golden Cap Estate © National Trust

Ancient trackways criss cross Stonebarrow hill on the Golden Cap Estate

We now use the old radar station as a bunkhouse for working holidays © National Trust

We now use the old radar station as a bunkhouse for working holidays

Route overview

The Golden Cap Estate is made up of rolling hills, pastoral fields, sunken lanes, ancient hedgerows and dramatic coastline. The whole estate lies within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This walk includes a section of the South West Coast Path along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

A pdf of the route marked map for Stonebarrow walk on the Golden Cap Estate, West Dorset
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Stonebarrow car park, grid ref: SY382933

  1. The Stonebarrow shop and information centre is housed within an old radar station. From the shop, turn left and head for the clump of pine trees at the end of the car park.

  2. Turn right before the trees and follow the fingerposts for Westhay Farm, passing by Monument Copse. The grassland on Stonebarrow is home to lots of butterflies like the small bordered fritillary and the common blue.

    Show/HideMedieval Stonebarrow

    Westhay Farm was once part of a settlement dating back to the medieval period. The term 'Hay' is common in West Dorset and means an enclosure. In this area, the patchwork pattern of fields has been preserved and the traditional methods of farming have encouraged a plethora of wildlife including butterflies.

    The small pearl bordered fritillary thrives in the Stonebarrow grassland © National Trust
  3. From here you can take a short detour into Monument Copse which marks the spot where local squire Robert Hilliard died in 1876. Continue through the hay meadows to Westhay Farm, given to us in 1961. This was the first land obtained by the National Trust in the area now known as the Golden Cap Estate.

  4. Turn right and head uphill to the next set of fingerposts, then turn left along the smugglers path. The next fingerpost should be signed Charmouth. Turn right and go up a few steps, then turn left and go up some more steps.

    Show/HideAncient trackways

    At the end of the 19th century, the main route from London to Exeter crossed the parishes of Chideock, Stanton St Gabriel and Charmouth. The sloping, unstable geology of Stonebarrow hill created difficulties for road builders, forcing them to try three different routes between Morecombelake and Charmouth.

    Ancient trackways criss cross Stonebarrow hill on the Golden Cap Estate © National Trust
  5. At the top of the steps, turn left for Charmouth and walk to Cains Folly. There was once a Second World War radar station here.

    Show/HideThe old radar station

    The old radar station, made of concrete and brick, was built by the Ministry of Defence in the 1950s as part of the Cold War defences. It's now used as a bunkhouse for our working holiday groups. It enjoys a fantastic elevated position on Stonebarrow hill with magnificent views across Lyme Bay, including Golden Cap, Chesil Beach and Portland Bill. The ruins of a Second World War radar station that collapsed during a landslide in the 1970s can be found nearby.

    We now use the old radar station as a bunkhouse for working holidays © National Trust
  6. Continue up the hill and turn right before the kissing gate, through the squeeze and follow the marker back to the Stonebarrow car park.

End: Stonebarrow car park, grid ref: SY382933

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1.7 miles (2.9km)
  • Time: 40 minutes to 1 hour
  • OS Map: Explorer 116 Lyme Regis and Bridport
  • Terrain:

    A circular walk off the beaten track. There are some steep steps and slopes on this walk as well as sections of coast path close to cliff edges. Walking boots are advisable. Well behaved dogs are welcome but please keep them on a lead in fields with livestock.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: The South West Coast Path passes through the Golden Cap Estate

    By bus: Coastline X53, alight at Newlands, Charmouth, then walk up Stonebarrow Lane, approximately 1 mile (1.6km) away. Also First 31.

    By train: Axminster station 5 miles, on X53 and 31 service routes (see above)

    By car: Come off the A35 between Lyme Regis and Bridport. From the west, go through Charmouth and take turning on right by Stonebarrow Manor into Stonebarrow Lane to top of hill, over the cattle grid. From the east, turn off at Charmouth, go past Newlands Holiday Park and take next lane on left, as above.

  • Facilities:

    • Shop selling light refreshments open 11am-5pm from Easter to end of October
    • Toilets near to shop (open during shop opening hours)
    • Selection of pubs and cafes in nearby village of Charmouth

  • Contact us