Cerne Giant

Ancient naked figure sculpted into the chalk hillside above Cerne Abbas

Standing at 180ft tall the Cerne Giant is Britain’s largest chalk hill figure and perhaps the best known.

Many theories surround the giant’s identity and origins. Is it an ancient symbol of spirituality? Or a likeness of the Greco-Roman hero Hercules? Or a mockery of Oliver Cromwell? Local folklore has long held it be an aid to fertility.

Above the Giant is a rectangular earthwork enclosure, known as the Trendle. Like the Giant, the Trendle is of unknown origin, but is belived to date back to the Iron Age. It is still used today by local Morris Dancers as a site for May Day celebrations.

The Giant was given to the National Trust nearly 100 years ago, in 1920. Part of conserving the Giant means leaving it alone as much as possible – the chalk is replaced every decade or so, a process that takes days of work by National Trust rangers and volunteers. The more the ground is disturbed, the quicker the Giant erodes away.

From different viewpoints, in different lights, the Giant can look starkly white or at times be just a faint outline. The best viewing spot for the Giant is from the Giant’s View car park, but there is also a short walk up to the Giant’s feet.

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Cerne Abbas is about a 45 minute drive from Bournemouth.


  • Sign-posted off the A352
  • Cerne Abbas
  • Dorset
  • DT2 7AL