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About The Walk

Facilities : Places to See

For those of you who see the A Round Dorset Walk as merely a physical challenge, and for whom the clock is an enemy intent at eating away at the number of miles it is possible to cover in a day, this page may be of less interest. For those others who are on a more relaxed schedule however, and who might have the opportunity to linger and explore, even at the cost of a few extra miles, perhaps these sights might be worth further exploration.

Dorset is never short of highlights; the countryside itself is its greatest quality, yet there are places and features that enrich the county.

Here then are a few that are worth allowing time for. If you know of others on the route, or worth making diversions for, then please let me know.

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In and around the North of Dorset

Compton Abbas airfield

Compton Abbas Airfield

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Compton Abbas Airfield Dorset is nationally known as one of the most picturesque airfields in the UK. Situated at over eight hundred feet above sea level, this very popular airfield commands spectacular panoramic view over some of England's most beautiful countryside.

Compton Abbas airfield

Visitors will soon realise that this airfield does not cater purely for the aviator, but has something for everyone, including the young, and the not so young. It has a large car park with a grass area where the kids can play whilst mum and dad relax and watch the aerial activities against the backdrop of rolling hills.

Compton Abbas Airfield opens every day from 9 am until sunset in the summer and 9am - 5pm in the winter, the exception being 25th - 30th Dec inclusive when it closes for the Christmas holiday. Although the airfield itself closes at sunset our bar and restaurant closes at 6pm in Summer and 5pm in Winter.

Shaftesbury and Gold Hill

Shaftesbury & Gold Hill

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Steeped in history and tradition, it offers visitors breathtaking views and the warmest of welcomes. The 'Shaston' of Thomas Hardy's novels, Shaftesbury is one of the oldest and highest towns in England and dominates what Hardy called the 'engirdled and secluded' Blackmore Vale.

The beauty of the surrounding Dorset countryside is complemented by the collection of fine, historical buildings that make up the centre of Shaftesbury itself.

Gold Hill, made famous by the Hovis Bread advertisement, with its steep cobbles and picturesque cottages is the epitome of rural charm from a previous time.

Sherborne Castle

Sherborne Castle

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Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594, Sherborne Castle has been home of the Digby family since 1617. Set in 40 acres of glorious 'Capability' Brown landscaped gardens and grounds around his 50 acre lake, the Castle contains a splendid collection of art, furniture and porcelain.

Sherborne Old Castle

Sherborne Old Castle

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The ruins of the old castle at Sherborne date from the early 12th century, when the castle was built for Roger de Caen, Bishop of Salisbury. He was a man of great importance who served as Chancellor and subsequently justiciar to King Henry I. However when Henry died there was conflict over the succession, with Henry's daughter Matilda contending for the throne against her cousin, Stephen. Sherborne was seized by Stephen in 1135, and it remained in royal hands until the reign of Edward III, when Bishop Robert Wyville paid to get the castle back into the hands of the church. In 1592, Queen Elizabeth transferred the lease to Sir Walter Raleigh. He had little use for the castle but made use of the estate where he built a new residence, Sherborne Lodge, that now forms part of the new Sherborne Castle beyond the lake to the south.

Cerne Abbas Giant

Cerne Abbas Giant

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The Cerne Abbas Giant or the 'Rude Man' is the largest hillfigure in Britain, he (the figure's gender is beyond doubt) is one of two representations of the human form, the other being the Long Man of Wilmington in East Sussex. The giant, carved in solid lines from the chalk bedrock measures in at 180 feet high, and carries a huge knobbled club, which measures 120 feet in length.