Maiden Castle and the Cerne Abbas Giant

Sunday 5 January 2020. On a cold, overcast day in early January 2020, having spent the morning looking for fossils at Charmouth beach, we visited Maiden Castle, a spectacular Iron Age hillfort – the largest in Britain – located just outside Dorchester in Dorset. Construction of the hillfort began sometime around 800 BC (over a Neolithic enclosure dating back some 6000 years) and continued in the following centuries as the hillfort evolved and grew. It is a magnificent site and well worth a visit. The car park is a five-minute walk from the hillfort. Fifteen kilometres north of Maiden Castle on the A352 lies the village of Cerne Abbas with its gloriously priapic hillside giant. The Cerne Abbas Giant is 55 metres tall and probably dates to the 17th century. He looks quite splendid in his grassy domain, but don’t try to walk up to him; when we went, the path was extremely muddy and afforded no view. Better to stop at a lay-by at the end of Duck St, just off the A352.

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