Minterne Magna and the Cerne Giant, Dorset

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Lowland and Hill Walks
Jun 22

14 people attending

6 places left

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An undulating 6 -7 mile walk with 825' of height gain

This walk starts 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).

Dogs are welcome to join us on this event but we do ask that you adhere to the Countryside Code at all times (see Keeping Dogs Under Effective Control). If your dog is uncontrolled and strays in open land frightening other animals or livestock, the leader is supported by the OutdoorLads board of trustees to ask you to leave the event as this is not acceptable behaviour.

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All images are licensed for re-use under Creative Commons. Courtesy of Geograph and Andy Martin

Group walking down a hill - Group walking down a hill _AM.jpg; Cerne Giant - geograph-1593650-by-gillian-thomas.jpgDorset_Fontmell Down_AM.jpgCerne Valley - geograph-5519511-by-Derek-Harper.jpgCerne Abbas _AM.jpg; Minterne Magna -  20180911_161512[1].AMjpg