Lambert's Castle hilltop views 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 you'll shortly see the banks of the hill fort ahead.
Walk through the entrance of the hill fort, pausing to imagine the work 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.
Lambert's Castle is the site of an Iron Age hill fort constructed by the local tribe some 2,500 years ago; the ditch and bank are prominent as you approach the western entrance. We've been doing some remedial work on this entrance, hence the post and rail each side. The hilltop was also used between 1709 to 1947 for a racecourse and a fair; you'll follow the route of the old racecourse on part of this walk.
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 one of our tenants. He uses Welsh Blacks, a traditional hardy breed, distinctive by their stocky appearance and black shaggy coats. Grazing is vital here, without which the hill would soon be lost to scrub and woodland.
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.
Keep your eyes peeled for a large range of bird life that can be seen at Lambert's Castle. Willow warbler, redstart, tree creeper, nuthatch, meadow pipit, stonechat, green woodpecker and yellowhammer (pictured) may all be seen and heard around the site.
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 east. To the south towards the coast you can see Hardown Hill, Langdon Hill and Golden Cap.
Just as the slope begins to drop away more steeply in front, bear right through a gap in the hedge bank. Look for the areas of heathland. You are now overlooking the village of Fishponds to the south. Walk straight on and keep on the lower side of the hedge-bank.
Lambert's Castle is home to a variety of habitats including heathland, acid grassland, woodland and wet mires. Heathland is a valuable habitat that is in decline nationally. Over the last 150 years around 75 per cent of British heathland has been lost to developments such as agricultural improvement and housing.
Bear right through the gap in the hedge-bank to bring you back on the route toward the car park. Shortly youll see a line of mature beech trees in front of you. Bear to your right and follow the line of trees back across the hill to the car park.
End: Lambert's Castle car park, grid ref: SY366988
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 1 mile (1.5km)
- Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour
- OS Map: Explorer 116; Landranger 193
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 3 mile (4.8km) 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 Raymonds Hill, signed Marshwood. Continue for approximately 3 miles (4.8km) then bear right onto Lambert's Track
- Telephone: 01297 489481
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lamberts-and-coneys-castle/