When you drive along the Jurassic Coast within the stunning Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you should keep an eye out for a curiously round little hill near Bridport.
This is Colmers Hill. Owned by the local Colfox family, it has been part of the Symondsbury Estate for over one hundred years.
It is a famous local landmark topped with a few dishevelled looking pin trees.
During World War I, John Sprake, woodman to Thomas Alfred Colfox, planted Caledonian Pine on the top of the hill.
Sir John Colfox then planted Monterey Pine in 2006. The trees have since grown into what is now the iconic silhouette you see today.
From the car park of the estate a brisk walk up Colmers Hill will take about 45 minutes to the top. From the top you will have a panoramic view of the sea and the beautiful rolling hills of the Dorset countryside.
This area along the coast has been used for many years by smugglers.
Smugglers used to take their contraband inland from the shore and they used the renowned Dorset holloways (sunken roads) to keep out of sight.
Hell Lane is perhaps the most famous and most impressive hollow lane. With Shutes Lane it connects Colmers Hill with North Chideock, climbing up over the ridge near Quarry Hill.
Walking & Cycling
We loved the Symondsbury Estate trail. This scenic walking and cycling trail leads you down tracks and across fields where views of hills and valleys stretch to Colmers Hill and the sea beyond.
It is 5 miles (8km) long.
As you glide down the hill from Bilshay Farmhouse you ride/walk up the ancient Monarchs Way. Then the trail leads you through Ebb plantation, past Axen Lodge.
As you ride/walk down Quarr Lane, the view of the sea completes the panorama.
Cool Places to Explore
West Bay | Lyme Regis | Golden Cap | Hive Beach | Pilsdon Pen | Mapperton House & Gardens | Chesil Beach | Isle of Portland | Forde Abbey House & Gardens | Hell Lane.
Cool Places to Eat
Symondsbury Kitchen | Hive Beach Café | Watch House Café | The Station Kitchen | Rise Café | The Three Horseshoes | Brassica | Swim.