Heritage

Cerne Abbas and The Giant, Dorset

Taking a stroll around this impossibly beautiful village makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, and the incredible 180ft high ancient chalk figure carved deep into the surrounding hills definitely gets you thinking  to why, and what, it’s there for! The Giant (often referred to as the ‘Rude Giant’) has been speculated on for years. Some believe him to be a representation of Hercules or a Pagan fertility symbol, over 1500 years old. There isn’t any record of him dating before 1694 however so many people believe him to be a caricature of Oliver Cromwell.

There’s definitely an ‘other worldly’ feel to this beautiful village. Dating back to AD 987 when it was home to a Benedictine Abbey, it could have failed after the dissolution of the monasteries after the abbey was sadly pulled down. However, the village prospered nonetheless due to its high-quality beer, which they brewed using Cernes’ high quality spring water which was exported as far away as America. At one point, there were 15 pubs and inns in the town and water power meant that milling and weaving industries developed too.

Today, there’s a sleepy yet prosperous feel to this very charming village and a deceptively large amount to see and do as well as some great places to eat and drink. Check out Abbots Tea Room for an afternoon tea or one of the many pubs serving beer brewed by Cerne Abbas Brewery. Take a look at the remains of Cerne Abbey – set in pretty gardens to the rear of a private house. In the church you’ll find St Augustine’s Well or The Silver Well, a tranquil spot with a natural spring said to cure anything from infertility to sore eyes to finding local girls a husband!

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