A buggy-friendly woodland welly walk around Langdon Hill (near Bridport & Lyme Regis)
Child-friendly, buggy-friendly walk. Things to do with kids in the Lyme Regis area.
Some days it’s so wet that you’ve just got to accept it, don your wellies and waterproofs, and send the kids on a trek around the forest to hunt for muddy puddles. Today was one of those days. I woke up (with a slight hangover) and remembered that I’d agreed to meet my sister in law first thing to get the kids out of the house despite the forecast for heavy rain (- I think this could’ve been a decision made while under the influence of two large glasses of wine), so I scrambled Livvie into her waterproof onesie and headed off to our local buggy-friendly woodland circuit at Langdon Hill.
If you’re looking for a short-ish woodland walk with some lovely countryside and sea views in the East Devon/West Dorset area, this one may be for you. It has the added bonus of a small adventure playground at the end of the route for young explorers, and is buggy and bike friendly so long as you don’t mind it being a bit muddy and rocky in places. (Not suitable for small-wheeled scooters, too bumpy.) You can take dogs too – be aware it’s a dog walking mecca (thankfully doesn’t seem to be too bad for dog poo) but lots of dogs off the lead.
If it’s really windy, the estate management sometimes closes the route (for risk of falling trees), but apart from high winds this is a route suitable for all weathers as long as you’ve got the right kit. My photos don’t really do it justice – it’s an appealing spot in all seasons with bluebells in the spring and crisp frosty air in winter.
It takes an adult about 40 minutes to walk around, so adding in time for kids to jump in puddles/protest that their wellies are full of water/discover a selection of pinecones and sticks /declare that they are too tired to walk, allow just over an hour to get from start to finish!
Langdon Hill is part of the National Trust estate that adjoins Golden Cap, the iconic sandy-topped peak just along the coast from Lyme Regis and Charmouth. You can walk the 1.4 mile circuit around the lovely woods on Langdon Hill, or you can break away from the Langdon Hill circular about halfway around and extend your walk to scale the steep Golden Cap hill itself, but with two sets of little legs in tow (my youngest, and my 2.5 year old niece) we thought we’d best leave the extension for another day! Besides, cliff edges aren’t really the best territory for youngsters.
Finding the little National Trust car park, which forms the start and the finish to this walk, is half the challenge. I must admit that the first time I tried to find it I somehow managed to follow a signpost for the FOOTPATH to Langdon Hill and got my awful old BMW stuck up a narrow track completely unsuitable for vehicles, it wasn’t my finest driving moment. Moving on, here’s how to find it:
Langdon Hill car park is just off the A35 main road between the two villages of Chideock and Morecombelake – if you are approaching from the direction of Lyme Regis, drive through Morecombelake and look out for Felicity’s Farm Shop on your right. Almost immediately after the farm shop, you’ll see a road sign marking a right hand turn, so move into the filter lane to turn right. Turn right (across the section of dual carriageway) into an unmarked ‘b’ road, and from there you should pick up signs to Langdon Hill car park on your left. If my directions are rubbish, here is the official grid reference and address!
Remember to take some change to pay for parking - £1 per hour if I remember rightly – unless you’re a national trust member with a car sticker on display.
Despite the fact that the route is navigable with a sturdy pushchair, I’d boldly made the decision that at the grand old age of 3.5 Livvie should get her little legs working and so I left our faithful wheels at home today – perhaps not the best day to give it a go bearing in mind the monsoon conditions but hey, you’ve got to give it a try some time.
This turned out to be a bit of a mistake as my sister in law and I took it in turns to carry the little ones (while pushing a newborn in a pram) due to two serious cases of soaking wet wellies – brought on by some gleeful puddle jumping – but with a few well-timed bribes and the promise of a Twix at the picnic bench at the end (sadly only for the kids), we made it around, muddy and soaked but invigorated by the fresh air (and hangover-free!).
Had it not been so wet we’d have let the girls explore the little play area, which is a basic affair of balancing logs and the like, but a nice way to round up the route and a good spot to stop for a picnic on a brighter day. I've included some photos from a visit earlier in the month when it was actually summer.
Today it was a case of going home to sling everything in the wash but I made a note to give Annie’s Tea Rooms a try which is about 5 minutes from the car park in Morecombelake just off the A35 – I’ve seen some very enticing photos on their Facebook page so must drop in next time for a coffee and a treat! Or if you're looking for a pub lunch, check out The George in Chideock - again, only a five minute drive away to a traditional and welcoming pub with a terraced garden.