Miden Castle

Do You Know Your Long Barrows from your Henges?

The South Dorset Ridgeway is a walking area above the Jurassic Coast. It’s beautiful, interesting and in places quite remote. There are wonderful walks taking in Bronze Age round barrows, long barrows, Neolitic henges, several Iron Age hillforts, lynchets and Medieval villages.

Long Barrows were apparently commual tombs. They were made with a collection of chambers, which then were covered in earth. Henges are the circular earthwork monuments. Sometimes these have circles of standing stones. The best henge to see is Maumbury Rings in Dorchester. When the Romans came they changed its use to an amphitheatre – and remarkably its still used to day to entertain.

There are three stone circles along the Ridgeway, Kingston Russell, Hampton and the one at Winterbourne Abbas. There is always something mystical about these areas. There are also the hillforts which offer fantastic views across the south coast. Maiden Castle, just outside of Dorchester, is the largest hillfort in Europe. At Abbotsbury Castle hillfort the views are oustanding. There are others too – including Eggardon which is next to old Roman Roads which cross the county.

There is always something to do in Dorset! Field Guides are available to help you find your way.

by Jane Greening, New House Farm