Visiting some small towns in England can uncover major surprises. In the case of Cerne Abbas, in Dorset, the surprise may be much bigger than expected. More precisely with nearly 60 meters wide. The Cerne Abbas giant is – with no doubt – a major attraction in this picturesque village with only 800 inhabitants.
Cerne Abbas was founded around the Benedictine abbey, a built dated back from 987 AD. During the reign of Henry VIII, the construction was almost completely destroyed. Nowadays, its porch is the only thing that remains from the old abbey.
For many years, the village was formed only for members of religious congregations. Only in 1400, with the construction of its main street – Abbey Street, the first stores and shops have appeared. Since then houses, pubs and other buildings gave life to this historical and charming village.
Besides that, the biggest tourist attraction of Cerne Abbas is not located on Abbey Street, but in a hillside on the main access road to the village, on A352.
The drawing of a naked man, about 60 feet tall, which most people believe being a prehistoric monument, attracts thousands of tourists to the village every year. Besides not being allowed to walk through the underlying chalk “paths” of the monument, many couples still visit the giant believing to be blessed by his powerful fertility.
Nowadays, to preserve the figure ancestor of possible damage, the site access has been restricted. Considered ancient monument since 1924, the Cerne Abbas giant is now heritage, but how it has appeared in the mountain is still a mystery.
In 2008, Cerne Abbas was considered the most desirable place to be in England, according to research by a respected British institution.
A simple walk throughout its streets reveals how bucolic and cosy Cerne Abbas is. With only three pubs, a picturesque coffee and some stores where you can find more than souvenirs, the village is one of the most visited places in the country. A true gem of Dorset!
The hospitable villagers are also something to highlight. Wherever you go, they’re always keen on an interesting conversation, not just about Cerne Abbas or the giant itself. Another Cerne Abba’s famous hospitality is spotted visiting the Parish Church of St Mary, where it’s possible to “help yourself” to the many apples of its vicarage.
Located in one of the most beautiful parts of England, Cerne Abbas is one of those tourist spots in the country which can be visited at any time of year. This small historic town has much more than just a gigantic nude man to be explored.
Published October 14th 2012 here.