Cerne Abbas

    Distance – 6 miles
    Duration – 2 hours.
    Exertion – Easy, apart from the first climb.
    Terrain – path and track. Can be wet underfoot.
    Dogs – Be aware of livestock and keep to the countryside code.
    Map – OS Explorer 117 – Cerne Abbas and Bere Regis
    Start – Abby Street
    Refreshments – The Trooper

Cerne Abbas history is rife with true facts, mysterious myths and magical legends. It’s a beautiful little village with houses of all colours and textures. Despite the cobbles having gone on Abbey street, it is like stepping back in time. Add a bit of fog and you could pretend you had! It’s backdrop has been used in movies including Tom Jones (1963) and The Mayor of Casterbridge (2003).

Park sensitively in the village and head for Abby street. At the end turn right through a metal gate and straight through the churchyard to St Augustine’s Well. This water is said to have magical powers, help fertility, grant wishes and be the elixir of youth. There could be some cow poo and a bit of cow wee in there, but, right now, there’s no scientific proof of either.

Walk up the hill I heading to one of the most famous Dorset landmarks, the Cerne Abbas Giant. Being this close to him, it’s hard to appreciate all his glory! His age is disputed but some say he could be thousands of years old. Maybe he was the first ever prehistoric ‘photo’…. or the first ever Instagram – with a bit of a filter! It is said that to sit on the giant would help with fertility. I have been up here plenty of times over the years. I also happen to be the mother of three children. Not saying there is any relation!…

Continue up the hill, and standing near his head to look down at the sunlit valley you can appreciate the golden glow of the village. It is very steep. However at this point most the climbing is complete already. Walk along the brow of the hill, heading to a wood. Walk to the wood almost meeting the main road. Keep

The wood to your right and join a track. Turn right down the hill, heading to the manor house at Minterne Parva. Now, with all the palaver of brexit, here’s a story, which occurred 10 years ago, in little Minterne Parva, that might help ease the pain!

Cross over the A352 and up the small road towards Up Cerne. Take the next left hand path after the village to

Cross the field. Join a track that take you onto the A352. Shortly after, at the junction with the old Cerne Union Workhouse (now Casterbridge Manor) take a right up the hill and then left. Here you are walking back along the opposite side of the valley to the giant. He can sometimes be quite hard to make out or he can glow in the sunshine-depending on weather and time of day.

Head back into the village by using some of the smallest footpaths. It helps to follow the river and this was probably the prettiest part of the walk. It is completely hidden from the bustle of the rest of the world, enjoying scenery that probably hasn’t changed for a few hundred years.

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