Cerne Abbas Giant

There were giants in the earth in those days.  Genesis 6:4


Want to find a giant in these days?  Just visit Cerne Abbas in Dorset and you’ll be impressed with a giant that certainly had no need of Viagra!

Cerne Abbas Giant, Dorset. Photo: Kaye Bewley


There’s a reason folk born in Dorset don’t leave Dorset.  It is because, well, it’s absolutely breathtaking.  If you visit anywhere within the county in late summer, it will either thrill all of your senses all at once, or you won’t have to go very far to meet someone who will delight just one of them with their home-made cakes and delicious Dorset tea.

A common sight in any English village is a Tea Room and the one in Cerne Abbas called Abbots is particularly pleasing.  Pleasant on the eye, ear, nose and tongue – so it sets the bar high for your emotional senses if you visit it before you make the climb to the impressive man on the hill.

The Cerne Abbas Giant is as old as the hills he’s been carved upon and he pops up in the most awkward of places – it makes you wonder how on earth people, way back when, found him.

First you have to drive along narrow roads, through a quaint village with its medieval buildings, ivy covered pubs and thatched cottages.  It’s such a delightful location it makes you wonder why they haven’t banned cars from parking there.  Then, a drive up a steep single-track lane takes you through to the National Trust parking spot where you are allowed to spy the Giant’s impressive appendage from afar.


Big, it may have been, but I needed a zoom lens to get a better picture of it!


For a long time, people have believed the Brits to be a prude bunch.  Just one walk up this hill proves that was not the case.  However, maybe the National Trust still believes that, as their website doesn’t say much about him, and the information board on the viewing platform is sadly worn and sun-damaged – so reading is a little difficult.

So, after my brief stint upon the viewing platform (feeling somewhat like a gentleman may feel as he peeks through a hole in the wall to watch a ‘lady of the night’ put on a performance), I turned away and drove back down the hill to the village.  My goal: to find the Tourist Office, where I hoped to unearth more about the Cerne Abbas Giant’s history.


Ivy Covered Royal Oak, Cerne Abbas. Photo: Kaye Bewley


There, the Tourist Office was located in a small village shop which had everything for sale except information on the Giant himself.  To be fair, there was a shop with lots of touristy things to buy, mugs, fridge magnets, aprons and the like but, it was closed.

However, I learned from Wikipedia and the faded details on the NT information board that the Giant could be one of two things:


  1. a depiction of Hercules from 1,500 years ago, constructed by the Romans
  2. a satirical joke about Oliver Cromwell in the 1600s, created by the Lord of the Manor


Take your pick.  Either way, it’s impressive.


After a slow stroll around the village, the lure of eggs and cake (not together, of course!), enticed me into the Abbots Tearooms and B&B.  There, I sat outside on a veranda in the warmth of the sun and was served a delightfully runny poached egg on toast washed down with a bottle of water.  Then I indulged in a tasty home-made cake (coffee and walnut) and a lovely pot of tea, served by a friendly waitress.


Poached egg on toast at Abbots TeaRooms. Photo: Kaye Bewley


When the autumnal English weather offers a perfect mild temperature, when the skies are a clear blue and the afternoon glow of the sun makes the leaves glitter a golden brown, it gives me that comforting sense of home.  Of log fires and woolly socks.  Of blue cheese, red grapes and white wine.

It is this time of the year that each of the images in Cerne Abbas makes for a feast for the eyes.  The end of summer season has the added benefit of having to deal with less cars on the narrow lanes and, also, fewer people fighting for a chair in the tearooms (or pubs)!

Kaye Bewley

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