Golden Cap is the most visible landmark on the easterly coastline from Lyme Regis, taking its name from a band of yellow Cretaceous sands crowning its summit. It is the highest point on the south coast of England, at 191 metres (or 618 feet) above sea-level offering spectacular coastal and countryside views for those prepared to make the journey up to the summit. On a clear day you can see as far as Portland Bill and Start Point in South Devon from the top. Looking inland towards Morcombelake you see a glorious patchwork of small lush green fields and hedges.
Golden Cap comprises seven formations of geological strata, from Liassic clay and sands at the foot to Gault clay and finally a resistant top layer of Upper Greensand - the iron content has oxidised to produce the distinctive golden colouration.
Situated between Charmouth and Bridport, it is owned by the National Trust, along with much of the surrounding landscape.
Golden Cap is the focal point of a network of footpaths including the South West Coast Path. Those following the South West Coast Path will approach the summit either from Seatown (walking in a westerly direction) or Charmouth (walking in an easterly direction). Both routes involve a relatively steep ascent from near sea-level to the viewing point at the top. Those interested in a more leisurely walk can also follow these routes, parking at Seatown, or for a longer walk Charmouth following the well signposted footpaths.
Stonebarrow Hill is also a good starting point to explore the entire Golden Cap estate. Here you will find a National Trust car park, information point, shop (cash only) and toilets. A circular trail takes you through the woodlands of Langdon Hill Wood and to the summit.
The less energetic option is to park in the National Trust car park at Langdon Hill, just off the A35 west of Chideock and walk through pretty Scots pine and larch woodland, followed by a steep but relatively short walk to the top. You can make it there and back in about an hour. Parking is free to National Trust members but Pay and Display if you’re not.
Langdon Hill car park: grid ref: SY412930, nearest postcode DT6 6EP
Stonebarrow Hill car park: grid ref: SY382933, nearest postcode DT6 6RA