Lambert's Castle to Coney's Castle walk
near Marshwood, Bridport, Dorset DT6Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Lambert's Castle offers stunning views of the Marshwood vale with its clay valleys and rolling greensand hills. On a clear day you can see Chesil beach and Portland to the east, and out towards the sea at Charmouth to the south.
- Bus stop
Start: Lambert's Castle car park, grid ref: SY366988
From the car park walk through the gate out onto Lambert's Hill. Follow the path straight ahead and shortly youll see the banks of the hill fort ahead.
Lambert's Castle is the site of an Iron Age hill fort constructed by the local tribe dating back some 2,500 years; the ditch and bank are prominent as you approach the western entrance. More recently a fair was held here from 1709 to 1947. Coney's Castle is the site of another small Iron Age hill fort, which is now subdivided by the road. Both sites are Scheduled Ancient Monuments for their Iron Age remains.
Walk through the entrance of the hill fort, pausing to imagine what it would have been like to dig the ditch and bank by hand. Carry on walking, but keep to the east side of the hill fort, looking for the gap in the hedge-bank ahead.
Walk through the gap and continue straight on into the field. Notice the undulations in the ground due to ploughing in 1939 to plant potatoes. This field was also the site of a Napoleonic signal station. Weve recently re-introduced grazing to Lambert's Common to help prevent scrub and woodland invading. Cattle grazing and treading will help to provide a mosaic of different vegetation structures on the site which are beneficial to many heathland species.
Ahead is a huge, split beech stump which may feature some large fungi. Walk until you see a fence in front then bear right and follow the path down into the ditch of the hill fort.
Lambert's Castle is home to a variety of habitats including heathland, acid grassland, woodland and wet mires. This makes it a great place to spot a huge range of birdlife. Keep an eye open for the meadow pipit, stonechat, green woodpecker, yellowhammer, willow warbler, redstart, tree creeper and nuthatch (pictured) on your way round.
Continue on the path until you arrive almost back to the hill fort entrance, then cut through the gap in the bank on your left. Carry straight on above the slope. This section enjoys marvellous views over the Marshwood Vale with the prominent hilltops of Lewesdon and Pilsdon Pen in view. To the south, toward the coast, Hardown Hill, Langdon Hill and Golden Cap can be seen. There are great views from the eastern side of Coney's Castle too.
Follow this section straight down the slope. The path narrows into a track and shortly you'll come to a gate. Walk through the gate and out onto the road, following it straight ahead up the hill where you'll arrive at Coney's Castle car park. Walk through the car park and bear left by the information sign, taking the path through the ditch of the hill fort.
Look for the gnarled old trees at Coney's Castle. Some of the beeches on the eastern side once formed part of an old hedge-bank which was more recently constructed on top of the Iron Age rampart.
After a short time youll arrive at a stile. Dont go over it, but instead follow the path round to your right which opens out onto the top of the hill. Follow across the top of the hill until you see the trees immediately in front, at which point bear left to access the stile onto the road.
Cross the road and pick up the gap in the bank in front of you. Go through the small gate and bear hard right, following the beech trees to your right; the path drops away steeply here so take care. Follow the path to the track at the bottom and bear right. Walk along the track until you reach the road then bear left onto Fishpond Bottom road.
Youll soon walk past a small church on your left. Immediately after you pass the church, the National Trust-owned medieval fish pond will be on your right - for a closer look you can go through the gap in the hedge bank. Go back out onto the road and continue straight on.
The medieval fish pond at Fishpond Bottom is well worth a closer look. Originally, it would have been stocked but is now a wildlife habitat. In spring masses of tadpoles churn the water, kingfisher can occasionally be seen and in the summer you'll see dragonflies and damselflies.
Bear right onto the footpath, just after the white house called April Cottage. Follow this path up the hill.
At the top of the hill bear to your right and walk across the top of the hill, pausing to admire the view. You'll pick up a stile in the hedgeline on your left where you'll access the bridleway. Turn right and walk until you reach the road.
At the road turn left and when you reach the kissing gate on your right pass through it and follow the footpath straight across until you reach Lambert's Castle car park track, where you bear right to arrive back to your start point. Keep your eyes peeled for common lizards and birds such as meadow pipit, stone chat and linnet.
End: Lambert's Castle car park, grid ref: SY366988
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 4 miles (6.4km)
- Time: 2 hours to 3 hours
- OS Map: Explorer 116; Landranger 193
Some sections of road walking with some steep descents and ascents. The top of Lambert's Castle is a fairly flat, grassy surface. Dogs are welcome under close control, due to livestock. We also have 1 mile (1.6km) and 3 mile (4.8km) routes for Lambert's Castle available to download.
- How to get here:
By foot: Wessex Ridgeway Trail traverses north to south on the east of Lambert's
By bike: National Cycle Network Route 2 runs nearby
By bus: Service 206 on Thursdays and 690 on Saturdays. Alight at Lambert's Castle
By train: Axminster, 4.5 miles (7.2km). Bus services X53 and 31 connect from station to service 206 on Thursdays and 690 on Saturdays
By car: A35 eastbound from Axminster, bear left onto B3165 at Raymonds Hill, signed Marshwood. Continue for about 3 miles (4.8km) then bear right onto Lambert's Track to small National Trust car park
- Telephone: 01297 489481
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lamberts-and-coneys-castle/