History of Jacob’s Ladder, Sidmouth

One of Sidmouth’s key landmarks, just a short walk from our Sidmouth hotel is Jacob’s Ladder. For those unfamiliar with Sidmouth, Jacob’s Ladder is the tall set of white wooden steps which lead from Connaught Gardens down to the western end of Sidmouth beach. These iconic steps date back to the early 1900s.

The first wooden ladder, which gave access down onto the pebble beach was built in 1871. Prior to this access was via steps that had been cut into the cliff and gradually eroded away.

The steep ladder was not popular with Victorian women and their long skirts so in 1899 a new design was approved. The new ladder was built and seen as a vast improvement.

In the 1930’s a concrete platform was installed beneath the ladder to prevent erosion and undermining from the tides. This was extended in 1958 when a concrete walkway stretching from Jacob’s Ladder platform to Clifton Beach was added below Connaught Gardens.

The last major works at the Jacob’s Ladder site were completed in the mid-1960’s. The local authority built a chine with a zigzag path leading from the cliff field to the platform near the bottom of the ladder. Hundreds of tons of cliff were pushed down to the beach to be washed away by the tide.

Jacob’s Ladder is a popular spot for Sidmouth visitors of all ages. The view from the top of Jacob’s Ladder is stunning and a great place to view this part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

If you’re planning to come to Sidmouth we highly recommend a visit to this historic landmark.

Image credit: John Copleston. Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0