Gold Hill, Shaftesbury - Britain On View

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury - Britain On View

Rural views from hilltop town Shaftesbury

Rural views from hilltop town Shaftesbury

Shaftesbury is well placed for exploring Dorset as well as Wiltshire just over the border. The market town grew around its famous Saxon Abbey and overlooks the green rolling hills of Blackmore Vale where you can find some excellent countryside walks. Shaftesbury is the only real hilltop town in Dorset set in the chalk hills of Cranborne Chase in the north of the county. It is most famous for Gold Hill, the steep cobbled hill featured in the Hovis "Boy on the Bike" advert of the 1970s and 80s directed by Ridley-Scott. The advert was voted the favourite advertisement of all time in 2006 and Hovis are reputed to have contributed to the restoration of the cobbles.

Markets are held in the town every Thursday and the monthly Farmers Market is on the first Saturday of each month. The Old Covered Market has been converted to house Shaftesbury Arts Centre which organises a programme of amateur and professional plays, films, art, photography and craft exhibitions and workshops. The locally run Shaftesbury & Gillingham Tourism Services next to the town's supermarket is very helpful and it's well worth picking up the town Heritage Trail for a minimal fee to help guide you round the town's historic sights.

Gold Hill Museum & Garden

At the top of Gold Hill you can visit the Gold Hill Museum & Garden - look out for the huge Hovis loaf outside. The museum is housed in a building formerly used by drovers and traders that flocked to the market town. You can find out all about local history through a variety of artefacts and stroll around the cottage garden with its views over Blackmore Vale.

Duncliffe Wood

West of the town is Duncliffe Wood managed by the Woodland Trust. It is one of the largest woods in North Dorset and is an ancient woodland site. The woodland is thought to have been Thomas Hardy's inspiration for his work 'The Woodlanders'. The Woodland Trust have been working to restore it to its original woodland character by planting native broadleaved species. There are still some remnants of the original woodland amongst the conifers planted in the 1950s/60s including coppice stools and small-leaved lime scattered throughout. A rich array of woodland flowers are also here including yellow archangel, moschatel and wood speedwell - all indicators of ancient woodlands. The woods are also home to a fantastic variety of butterflies including silver-washed fritillary, white admiral and purple hairstreak.

Shaftesbury Abbey walls

Shaftesbury Abbey walls

Shaftesbury Abbey

Shaftesbury is a historic town with Saxon origins. Saxon King Alfred The Great founded the Benedictine Abbey in 888 AD and installed his daughter as its first Abbess. At its height the abbey was home to the largest Benedictine nunnery. It has some famous connections as King Canute died at Shaftesbury and the boy King Edward the Martyr who was murdered by his stepmother at Corfe Castle was buried in the Abbey after which Shaftesbury Abbey became a centre of pilgrimage. Catherine of Aragon is also said to have stayed here in 1501 when she was on her way to marry Prince Arthur, Henry VIII's brother. The excavated foundations of the abbey in the walled gardens are open to the public, with an onsite museum displaying carved stones and artefacts uncovered during excavation in the nineteenth century. The gardens have been planted with herbs and flowers that would have been used by Saxon nuns for flavouring foods, dyes or for medicinal properties.

Accommodation in Shaftesbury

  • Near Shaftesbury   (0.1 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
    Sleeps 8
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    £1,055
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 8
     
    Thatched cottage in Ashmore near Shaftesbury, perfect for groups and large families, with excellent facilities including WiFi. Excellent location with walks on the doorstep.
     
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  • Shaftesbury   (1.9 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
    Sleeps 5
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    £319
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 5
     
    This charming semi-detached cottage sits in the heart of the small village of Motcombe in the West Country, and can sleep five people in three bedrooms.
     
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  • Shaftesbury   (1.8 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
    Sleeps 6
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    £298
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 6
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 6 reviews
    Rating from 6 reviews
    Sleeping up to six people in two bedrooms, this self contained wing near Shaftesbury is in an ideal location for exploring Dorset.
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  • Shaftesbury   (2.9 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
    Sleeps 6
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    £381
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 6
     
    This barn conversion near Shaftesbury sleeps six people in three bedrooms.
     
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  • East Knoyle   (4.5 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
    Sleeps 2
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    £260
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    This self contained wing of the owner's home on the edge of the village of East Knoyle sleeps two people.
     
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  • West Knoyle   (5.1 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
    Sleeps 2
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    £261
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 2
     
    This is a wonderful, ground floor, semi-detached, studio barn conversion, situated in the grounds of the owner's farmhouse, in West Knoyle, near Mere, on the borders of Wiltshir...
     
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  • Shaftesbury   (1.1 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
    Sleeps 4
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    £289
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 4
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 3 reviews
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    The historic market-town of Shaftesbury sits 750 feet above sea-level, looking down onto the Blackmore Vale.
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  • Hindon   (6.8 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
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    £99
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 299 reviews
    Rating from 299 reviews
    The historic Lamb dates back to the 12th century and offers a pub, dining room and individually styled bedrooms with satellite TV. Stonehenge is a 25-minute drive away.
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  • Sturminster Newton   (4.0 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
    Sleeps 12
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    £462
    Per week (seasonal), sleeps 12
     
    Ideal for anglers
     
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  • Shaftesbury   (2.6 miles from the centre of Shaftesbury)
    Prices from
    £55
    TripAdvisor traveller rating from 135 reviews
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    The Coppleridge Inn is a family-run country inn & restaurant situated near Shaftesbury on the beautiful Dorset/Wiltshire borders in England. The main building is a conver...
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