Cerne Abbas is a quintessentially English village and formed the basis for Thomas Hardy’s ‘Abbot’s-Cernel’, set in the heart of Dorset. Today the village is a bustling community of over 700 people with a flourishing school, a rural Post Office, the village store (which is a local tourist information point, and where you will find a Town Trail of Cerne Abbas), three historic public houses, tearooms and a number of other shops to attract the visitor.
The village is famous for its Giant, the 180 ft high chalk figure carved out into the steeply sloping hillside to the north of the village. He can best be seen from the viewpoint on the main Dorchester to Sherborne road (the A352).
The origins of the Giant are a mix of fact and speculation. Some believe that he represents the Roman god, Hercules, and is over 1500 years old. However, there is no known historical record about him before 1694 and it has been argued that he is more recent and a caricature of any one of a number of possible historical figures. Whatever the truth, he is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument in the care of The National Trust. (Please note that, to prevent erosion, visitors are not allowed to walk on the Giant.)
Cerne Abbas is about 12 miles south of Sherborne.
From 7 – 10 July, Cerne Abbas holds a delightful Music Festival, this year featuring the Gaudier Ensemble. Details are available from www.cerneabbasmuiscfestival.co.uk or Tel:01300 341518