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South West - Weymouth and Dorset

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in south west england

7. Cerne Abbas Chalk Giant

Top 10 ten places to visit in South West England - Weymouth and Dorset

Cerne Abbas Chalk Giant 

Walk up Giant Hill in West Dorset to the Cerne Abbas Chalk Giant. Cerne Abbas is situated in the valley cut by the River Cerne and is surrounded by the gentle hills which are typical of the lovely West Dorset countryside. There is an extensive range of public footpaths and bridleways which radiate from the village.

The Cerne Abbas Giant is a huge outline sculpted into the chalk hillside above the village of Cerne Abbas representing a naked, sexually aroused, club-wielding giant.

Public perceptions are wide-ranging, is he smutty, humorous or offensive? Certainly he has been used to advertise products as diverse as condoms, jeans and bicycles. Many couples today believe him to be a unique aid to fertility.

The Cerne Abbas figure has conventionally been viewed as a great symbol of ancient spirituality. A mound below the giant’s left hand may be the sculpted remnant of a severed head which he once clutched – a rather grisly if common ancient Celtic religious symbol.

Alternatively, the Roman hero Hercules was often depicted naked with a club in his right hand and a lion skin draped over his left shoulder. Scientific tests have suggested that there might once have been something draped over the giant’s left side, but long grassed over.

During the Second World War, the giant was disguised to prevent the Germans from using him as an aerial landmark. Since then he has always been visible, receiving regular grass trimming and a full re-chalking every 25 years.

Cerne Abbas Chalk Giant Address:
The village of Cerne Abbas is eight miles north of Dorchester on the A352 Sherbourne road

Cerne Abbas Chalk Giant Opening Times:
All year round.

Admission:
Free

W  Cerne Abbas 
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