Lambert's Castle to Fishpond Bottom walk

near Marshwood, Bridport, Dorset DT6

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Remedial work at the western entrance of Lambert's Castle hill fort © National Trust

Remedial work at the western entrance of Lambert's Castle hill fort

Once crucial boundary markers, now the hedge-banks are home to wildlife © National Trust

Once crucial boundary markers, now the hedge-banks are home to wildlife

There is a huge range of birdlife to see including this willow warbler © northeastwildlife.co.uk

There is a huge range of birdlife to see including this willow warbler

Route overview

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.

Route details

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

Route map for Lambert's Castle to Fishpond Bottom walk, Dorset
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Lambert's Castle car park, grid ref: SY366988

  1. From the car park walk through the gate out onto Lambert's Hill. Follow the path straight ahead and youll soon see the banks of the hill fort ahead.

    Show/HideIron Age hill fort

    Look for the banks of the 2,500 year old Iron Age hill fort. We have been doing some remedial work in the western entrance hence the post and rail each side.

    Remedial work at the western entrance of Lambert's Castle hill fort © National Trust
  2. Walk through the entrance of the hill fort, pausing to imagine the work to dig the ditch and bank by hand. Carry on walking, keeping to the east side of the hill fort looking for the gap in the hedge-bank ahead.

    Show/HideHedge-banks

    Look for the number of hedge-banks that traverse the hill. A tithe map of 1844 tells us that at this time there were three owners of Lambert's hill, with another six tenants renting individual fields from them in turn. These banks defined different areas of ownership and, before the modern era of post and wire fencing, would most likely have been hedged to keep livestock from wandering. Now we have just one tenant who grazes the whole hill except the woodland to the north.

    Once crucial boundary markers, now the hedge-banks are home to wildlife © National Trust
  3. Walk through the gap and carry straight on. 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. The cattle at Lambert's Castle are managed by our National Trust tenant. He uses Welsh Blacks, a traditional hardy breed, distinctive by their stocky appearance and black shaggy coats. Grazing is vital here; without it the hill would soon be lost to scrub and woodland.

  4. Ahead is a huge, split beech stump, which may feature 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.

    Show/HideBirdlife

    Lambert's Castle is home to a variety of habitats including heathland, acid grassland, woodland and wet mires. This makes it an ideal place to spot a number of different birds. Keep an eye open for the meadow pipit, stonechat, green woodpecker, willow warbler (pictured), redstart, tree creeper, nuthatch and yellowhammer on your way round.

    There is a huge range of birdlife to see including this willow warbler © northeastwildlife.co.uk
  5. 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 spectacular views over the Marshwood Vale. If you look to the east you can see Pilsdon Pen and Lewesdon Hill (the highest point in Dorset) and to the south, toward the coast, Hardown Hill, Langdon Hill and Golden Cap can be seen.

  6. Follow straight down the slope until you come to a gate. Go through it and follow straight on, onto the road. Take the second turn on your right, signed Fishpond Bottom and follow the road straight on.

  7. Youll soon walk past a small church on your left. Immediately after you pass the church, the National Trust-owned medieval fishpond is on your right. For a closer look you can go through the gap in the hedge-bank. To return to the walk go back out the way you came in.

  8. Bear right onto the footpath, just after the white house called April Cottage. Follow the path up the hill.

  9. At the top of the hill bear to your right and follow across the top of the hill, pausing to admire the view. Youll pick up a stile in the hedgeline on your left, where youll access the bridleway. Turn right and walk until you reach the road.

  10. 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: Easy
  • Distance: 3 miles (5km)
  • Time: 1 hour to 2 hours
  • OS Map: Explorer 116; Landranger 193
  • Terrain:

    The top of Lambert's Castle is a fairly flat grassy surface. Dogs are welcome under close control due to livestock; please do not allow your dog to foul on the paths. Please take your litter home. We also have 1 mile (1.6km) and 4 mile (6.4km) routes for Lambert's Castle available to download.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: The Wessex Ridgeway Trail traverses north to south on the east of the property

    By bike: National Cycle Network route 2 runs in the vicinity of the property

    By bus: Service 206 on Thursdays and 690 on Saturdays. Alight at Lambert's Castle

    By train: Axminster station 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 Raymond's Hill, signed Marshwood. Continue for approximately 3 miles (4.8km) then bear right onto Lambert's Track

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