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Cerne Abbas Giant - Feature Image

Walk among the legends of old and discover more about the Cerne Abbas Giant. With fertility dances one-meter deep chalk lines, the landmark is full of theories and speculation. 

Heading into the quiet village Cerne Abbas, you will be sure to notice the 180ft nude sculpture carved into the green hillside. There is so much to discover and find out about the history, mystery and theories behind the chalk man.

Carry on reading to find out more about the Cerne Abbas Giant…


Overview

Cerne Giant

Located in the quiet village of Cerne Abbas, the Cerne Giant is a 180ft figure sculpted into the chalk hills. The figure is around 1000 years old and is a popular tourist spot in Dorset.

The Cerne Abbas Giant is the largest chalk hill figure in the UK, standing at 180ft tall. Visiting the Giant is available all year round, offering views of the iconic Dorset countryside.

To maintain the integrity of the Cerne Abbas Giant, walking and touching the figure is restricted. Due to the size of the sculpture, the best place to see the Giant is from the Cerne Giant Viewpoint. However, a short walk up to the Giants feet is available to get up close and personal with the naked Giant.


Facilities

Cerne Abbas High Street

Cerne Abbas is a beautifully quaint village that welcomes tourists from all over the world. The Cerne Giant is only a short walk away from the Cerne Abbas village. Here you can find toilets, bars, cafes and accommodation for your visit.

To see the sculpture in all of its glory, The Cerne Giant Viewpoint is the best place to see the Giant. Just off the A352, the viewpointis wheelchair accessible and offers clear, unobstructed views of the goliath.

Once you have taken in the magnificent sculpture, head into Cerne Abbas and look around the historic town. You may want to stop by Cerne Abbey or visit St Augustine’s Well. No matter your reason for visiting Cerne Abbas, the village is full of stunning architecture and history.

You can also stop for a bite to eat at one of the villages many tearooms and pubs.

Cerne Abbas Giant Parking:

38 Acreman St
Cerne Abbas
Dorchester 
DT2 7JX


History

The Dorset countryside is a hotspot for scientists and archaeologists. Many of the archaeologists date the Cerne Giant between 700AD – 1500AD.

Over the years, there have been many studies to identify the age and origins of the Cerne Abbas Giant. With many believing it comes from the Saxon era, the giant sculpture eventually succumbed to overgrowing grass. That may be a reason there are no records in the later years of the Cerne Abbas Giant.

After the Giants rediscovery, it has been maintained and tested by trained professionals. In the 1920s, the sculpture was donated to the National Trust by the owners of the land. They help repair and survey the Cerne Giant and the surrounding areas.


What does the Cerne Abbas Giant Represent

Cerne Abbas Morris Dancers

The Cerne Abbas Giant is a source of much speculation throughout the region. Many people believe that it represents a history of real giants, with some even saying the chalk is the outline of a real Giants corpse.

Others believe that the figure was a parody of Oliver Cromwell. Although very speculative, there is evidence behind this theory. In 1644, Lord Holles (the landowner where the Giant lies) was the MP for Dorchester and tried to have Cromwell impeached.

We may never know the real story behind the Cerne Abbas Giant, but the mystery lets us come to our own conclusions behind the Giant.


Symbolic Meaning

Due to the historic nature of the Giant, many believe that there is a symbolic history behind the figure.

Because of the phallic member, the Cerne Abbas Giant is often associated with fertility. In fact, throughout the year, the locals have been known to dance around a maypole to promote fertility.


Visiting the Cerne Giant

If you are in the area, visiting the Cerne Abbas Giant is perfect for the whole family. As well as the Giant, there are many things to do in the area. You can take a walk through the forests of Giants Hill or hunt for wildflowers and butterflies along the chalk grassland.


Cerne Abbas Giant

Working on the Cerne Abbas Giant

To enjoy the sight of the Cerne Giant, you are best sticking to the Cerne Giant Viewpoint. That is because this offers the best viewing spot due to the size of the Giant.

The viewpoint looks upon the hill and is perfect for photo opportunities. Once you have seen the Giant from afar, you can head into the village centre to enjoy afternoon tea or head up Giants Hill to explore the sculpture up close.


Giants Hill

Heading up the hill, you can explore the surrounding forest and get a little closer to the Cerne Abbas Giant. Nowadays, the Giant is protected by a perimeter fence. However, you can still see the sculpture up close and see the magnificent chalk work.


Hunting Wildflowers and Butterflies

marsh fritillary butterfly

Cerne Abbas is home to some of the regions most unique natural specimens. Exploring the chalk grassland, you can see butterflies, wildflowers and an impressive selection of chalk downland plants.

The best time to see the butterflies is throughout May before it gets too hot. Keep an eye out for the beautiful marsh fritillary butterfly.


Places to Stay Close By

Cerne Abbas is one of the best places to visit with your family. Make the most of your visit by staying in a self-catering cottage in Dorset. The village is close to many beautiful locations like DorchesterSturminster Newton and Bridport.

If you want to explore the Cerne Abbas region, why not look at staying at the Old Gaol Cottage or Little Thatch. These high-quality cottages come with various amenities and allow you and your loved ones to immerse yourselves in the local area.

Alternatively, you may want to try local camping spots and caravan parks. Although, these can get busy throughout the summer months.


The Cerne Abbas Giant is shrouded in mystery and provides an insight into the UK’s history. Whether you are travelling with your partner, family or pets, Cerne Abbas is a fantastic place to visit with your loved ones.


Image Credits – Mark Way – (CC BY-ND 2.0); Nygel Mykura – (CC BY-SA 2.0); Jim Linwood – (CC BY 2.0); Mark Way – (CC BY-ND 2.0)