From a woodland walk at Langdon Hill to a bracing climb up Golden Cap or Thorncombe Beacon, discover the best parts of the Golden Cap Estate.
Golden Cap climb
As you'd expect from the highest point on the South Coast, the views in all directions are spectacular on a clear day. Park at Langdon Hill car park and climb up the east side, or approach from the west if you're parked at Stonebarrow. Either way, the stiff climb will be amply rewarded by the views and sense of achievement.
There's been a settlement at St Gabriel's (or Stanton St Gabriel) since Saxon times. All that remains of the thriving hamlet is a ruined medieval chapel and an 18th-century manor house divided into four National Trust holiday cottages. The ancient landscape of this secluded valley has been formed by centuries of farming. Wildlife thrives in the meadows and hedges, and the tiny streams support frogs, newts and dragonflies.
Stonebarrow is an excellent starting point for exploring the Golden Cap Estate. From the car park there are numerous short walks along the hilltop, or you can enjoy a longer coastal walk to Golden Cap and beyond, returning via an inland route across wildlife-rich meadows. There's a National Trust shop and information centre (open April to October) at the car park, housed within an old radar station.
Langdon Hill car park is a good starting point for a walk up to Golden Cap or a stroll along a stretch of coast path. The woodland offers a small woodland play trail and a scenic circuit along level paths, popular with dog walkers and those after a less challenging walk. A great place to seek shade on a hot summer's day, it's also rich in wildlife, with carpets of bluebells in spring and unusual varieties of fungi in the autumn.
Lyme Regis shop
The National Trust shop at Lyme Regis is well worth a visit. Boasting panoramic views of Golden Cap and the Jurassic Coast, it is a pleasure to browse in this light and airy shop. If you need gifts to take home or just want to treat yourself, visit our 'little shop with the big view'. Remember, every penny you spend goes towards caring for our West Dorset places.
Open Monday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 11am-4pm.
Thorncombe Beacon stands to the east of Golden Cap on the Jurassic Coast. Like its taller neighbour, it gets its distinctive colour from a green mineral in the rock that turns rusty-gold in sunlight. The beacon was lit to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee on 4 June 2012.There's been a signal station here from at least the16th century, built to warn of invasion.
The coastline of the Golden Cap Estate is part of the Jurassic Coast, Britain's only natural World Heritage Site. The Jurassic Coast covers 95 glorious miles that record 185 million years of the earth's history. On a calm day old 'boulder arcs' can be seen stretching out under the water beneath Golden Cap. These are the remnants of old landslides, and they show how the cliff line has retreated over thousands of years.
Former Countryfile presenter and keen walker Julia Bradbury
filmed in the West Dorset region for her ITV series
Best Walks with a View. Discover her favourite scenic landscapes from the Golden Cap walk, and if you've been inspired to lace your boots you can read the route to follow in Julia's footsteps.