Minterne Magna and the Cerne Giant, Dorset.
9 people attending
16 places left
This walk starts AT 11:15 and ends at the tiny village of Minterne Magna, which lies between Sherborne and Dorchester and makes its way along undulating woodland and downland trails to pass the Cerne Abbas Giant, a hill figure near the village of Cerne Abbas. Made by a turf-cut outline filled with chalk, it depicts a large naked man with an erection and is typically described as a giant wielding a club. The figure is listed as a scheduled monument and the origin and age of the figure are unclear. The earliest mention of it dates to the late 17th century although early antiquarians associated it, with a Saxon deity, while other scholars sought to identify it with a Celtic British figure of the Roman Hercules. Archaeological evidence that parts of the drawing have been lost over time strengthen the Hercules identification. Regardless of its age, the Cerne Abbas Giant has become an important part of local culture and folklore, which often associates it with fertility. It is one of England's best known hill figures and is a visitor attraction in the region.
On arrival in the rather pretty little stone village of Cerne Abbas there's a rather nice old inn to pause for a while before the return route up the valley until our walk ends up back at Minterne Magna. Here a private country house has a garden open to the public - a garden described as “a corner of paradise” and Voted as ‘One of the Ten Prettiest Gardens in England’ by The Times. Admission is £6 and Cream Teas, Cakes are available to (optionally) round off our afternoon. (Dogs are welcome in the outside dining area, providing they are on leads)
What to bring
Water: bring at least two litres
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Day rucksack: typically 20-30 litres, they are comfortable to wear and allow you to use your arms freely
Boots: waterproof and breathable and designed for hiking, trainers are OK if the ground is dry and there’s little chance of rain
Gaiters: recommended for wet weather or boggy conditions
Socks: proper walking socks will keep your feet dry and help prevent blisters
Layered clothing: lets you quickly adapt to changes in the weather and body temperature. Go for a base layer (vest or t-shirt) and a mid layer (a micro fleece or shirt) and in cooler weather add an outer layer (a windproof jacket or thick fleece)
Trousers: ideally no jeans as they become heavy and cold in the rain, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry and on warm days shorts are OK
Waterproof jacket: essential when hiking in all but the calmest of weather, breathable fabrics are more comfortable and dry
Hat or cap: stay warm in winter and shaded in summer
Sunglasses: for any sunny day, even in winter
Sun cream: can be useful even on cloudy and winter days
Snacks: bring biscuits, energy bars, gels, bananas, chocolate or dried fruit for example and put them somewhere easy to get hold of
Lunch: bring a packed lunch unless otherwise stated
Food & drink
Bring a packed lunch, to be (optionally) supplemented by a pint at the pub and tea and cake at the gardens afterwards