We visited this area yesterday for the first time, and what a beautiful, crisp, sunny day it was too!
Didn't check this page first, so trusted the directions in the big papery version and got a bit lost! Headed, as suggested, along the A35 between Bridport and Lyme Regis, but as Rhiannon says - no signpost was forthcoming... Eventually, I gave in and checked my seriously-lacking-in-detail road map, and, lo! Golden Cap was marked on it! Just next to Chideock...
So we drove back till we got to Chideock, and took a chance turning toward Seatown, where we then saw a sign for the Golden Cap Holiday Park - hurrah! At the end of said road is a car park just opposite the pub with voluntary £1 all day parking. Footpaths are marked from there (although currently diverted due to erosion).
We took the opposite path, heading toward Bridport, taking in the highest cliff on the South coast from Thorncombe Beacon - a fantastic vantage point! And a large tumulus right next to it as a bonus for the steep, hilly walk. Some lovely hills/hillforts to be seen from there.
The cliff garden at the Anchor Inn is a fantastic place to watch the sun go down with a rewarding pint of ale...
Getting back out onto the A35 was a bastard tho!
Access: This one's for the *relatively* fit (or the determined!) Sometimes steep, frequently slippery. Cows.
Ok so perhaps it's gratuitous to write yet another fieldnote for this place, but I LOVE IT SO MUCH. We were up here several hours but the time just raced by. You can spread yourself out in the sun and feel supported by the weight of the huge cliff beneath you, drink in the sunshine, be lulled by the sound of the waves on the distant shore below. The ground is carpeted with gorgeous seaside plants like thrift and sea campion, but also heathy things like heather - it's a lovely mix. For such a sunny sunday the place should have been heaving with people but there was hardly a soul up here, it was gloriously calm.
This visit perhaps I was more aware of the surrounding landscape - there are so many strangely shaped hills topped with earthworks and I spotted a hill with a perfectly placed barrow. You're on top of the world - not lording over it, just excellently placed to appreciate it spreading out around you. (By the way, I was less convinced by Julian's theory about the landscape figure* - the head would be at a rather cricked angle. But maybe..)
Visit - you will not be disappointed. And if you want to freak yourself out a bit afterwards, head for (the imaginatively titled) Seatown, where you can see from the beach just how monstrous the cliff you've just been peering over really is. Also you'll deserve the beer/icecream you can buy there after your exertions.
*he is talking about the long Langdon Hill. To add to the area's hidden landscape, J. Harte in the Third Stone 29 article 'Hidden Laughter' talks of a fairy sighting on the Langdon Hill - Chideock footpath in the 1940s...
I can't believe this is the first fieldnote for Golden Cap - this place is terrific.
Contrary to TMA, there's no signposting off the main road (this can only be a good thing if you ask me) but you'll be fine with your OS map. Julian describes the first wooded hill where you park (at SY 412 930) as the body of the sacred landscape, with Golden Cap as the head. You follow the gentle path round the body, but it's quite some exertion up to the top of Golden Cap (but all nicely stepped as it's on the coastal path). It's the highest point on the south coast, and if you walk out to the end you'll totally believe it, the drop is pretty monumental.
I took three other people up there - they were kicking a bit to begin with but once we were up there noone wanted to leave, it was so warm and we were sat on the closely nibbled grass chatting. You should be able to see a very long way but last thursday it was beautifully hazy and you couldn't tell where the sea met the sky. You could hear the waves far below, there were bees everywhere, and the generally car-bound cynics were at peace. The oranges I'd brought were hailed as delicious.
As my better half said: 'This is definitely somewhere we'll come back to.'
"To the east end of the village on the North side of the main road is Ruins Lane, a short track which leads you up to ruins field, where you will see the site of Chideock castle. All that remains now is the moat and a large cross, erected in memory of the Chideock Martyrs. The castle was built in 1380 by John de Chideocke."