A walk around Lambert’s Castle is sure to raise your spirits.
Perched on the edge of the Devon Dorset border, those Iron Age folk certainly knew where the best views were. Of course they did not choose the location for their pleasure, but we should be very grateful for their fortress building and also in more recent times to the National Trust for securing the site for future generations.
Whatever the weather, Lambert’s Castle attracts walkers, view seekers, horse riders and dog walkers. If you are local you will most likely already know of the place, but for visitors or those new to the area it may be a new walk to discover.
It’s one of those places that never fails to impress whatever the season. The photos in this post are from different walks so you will see how it changes.
Just to be clear there is no castle, not even any remains of one. It is just a fabulous hill. The view to the north across Somerset is almost completely obscured by trees save for the odd glimpse, but as a result there is a glorious walk through the beech trees.
Some of these lovely trees must be a few hundred years old, vast and gnarly they provide great opportunities for those young or agile enough to climb trees. A must in every childhood as far as I’m concerned!
To take the woodland walk head in to the trees from the car park which is to the left of the main gate and footpath. Once you have negotiated the tree roots the path does become relatively easy.
The views just keep getting better
It is possible to take a footpath all around the edge of the fort either starting through the woods or round the left of main plateau. As you follow the path round in a clockwise direction from the car park you eventually dip into the ditch of the fort edge, then the views just keep getting better. Along the North Eastern edge the trees have been removed and it gradually opens up with views across to Pilsdon Penn. That’s when you get the wow factor.
This week (as you can see from the photo below) the weather did not do it justice. Keep following the edge round and then you are looking across the Marshwood Vale – it’s incredible how far you can see; in the near distance the distinctive trees topping Colmer’s Hill near Bridport and right out to Portland on a good weather day. Look down in the fore ground and see farm buildings, fields and woods with a birds eye view and marvel at beautiful countryside of West Dorset.
For a shorter walk and to avoid the mud through the trees, just bear to your right from the main gate and head across the large open plateau of the fort. This central part would also be OK for a sturdy pushchair. There are geo caching spots at Lambert’s Castle which add to the walk, although I can’t comment on the likely recent appearance of Pokemon (I’m holding firm on the no tech while we walk).
For this recent walk we took a diversion towards another old fort called Coney’s Castle. From the Southern edge of Lambert’s Castle you drop down a stony track and pop out onto a road junction (a not very busy lane), follow your nose up the lane (we decided the sign was pointing the wrong way) and after about 1/2 mile you reach a small gravel car park.
Although not really well signed, Coney’s Castle is another great and less well known spot for a walk or a picnic and in the spring is awash with bluebells.
After a circuit round the fort part of Coney’s Castle we crossed the road and discovered another stunning view out to sea looking onto Charmouth.
If you did a car share and had the legs you could extend your walk right down to the coast on the Wessex Ridgeway footpath. I’m a firm believer in studying a physical Ordnance Survey map before I head off somewhere a bit new as it also makes me see what else there is new to discover nearby. However there are also lots of phone map apps to help you if you are not confident with a physical map.
So there you go….
Another great walk in Dorset. If you are not too sure and think my info is a bit wooly, just ask a local – someone will be sure to volunteer to show it too you (me included). It’s not really a flips flops walk except in the dry summer months. In the winter the wind can blow so hard you feel like it could hold you up but that’s what makes it a great spot for blowing away the cobwebs!
Here’s a little video – it doesn’t show the views – I’ll leave you to discover that!
Lambert’s Castle is easy to access off the B3165
From Axminster / Lyme Regis: Signed Marshwood and Crewkerne off the A35 at Hunters Lodge pass through Raymonds Hill and drive for about 3 miles – keep your eyes open for a NT sign on the right (just after a sign for Fishpond’s Bottom), it’s a bumpy track to small National Trust car park (SY365987). If you reach the Bottle Inn you’ve gone too far.
For Coney’s Castle as above, 3 miles from Hunters Lodge turn right to Fishpond’s Bottom (300m before the Lambert’s Castle track) . At Fishpond’s take the third turning to Wootton Fitzpaine. This road passes through the centre of Coney’s Castle. Car park (SY372976) on left, just before the road enters the hill fort.
From Crewkerne: Pass through Marshwood. pass the Bottle Inn and head up the hill through the trees. the turning to Lambert’s castle is just at the brow of the hill on your left and the turning to Coney’s Castle 300m further on.