Top 5 things to do in North Dorset

In and around Shaftesbury

North Dorset is a beautiful region in England, with plenty of things to do and see. Shaftesbury itself is packed with history, shops and delicious food and drink venues for you to try. The nearby area is known as North Dorset and features more world famous landmarks. The edge of north Dorset is bordered by Sommerset and Wiltshire which start only a mile or two outside of Shaftesbury. In this guide we pick some of our favourite local attractions that are a must visit.

Gold Hill

Before you start to say it. “Is that in Yorkshire?”, no it is not, it is in the heart of Dorset in Shaftesbury. Gold Hill is a step back in time for any visitor and has been looked after by the guardians of Shaftesbury to ensure it has lost none of its charm. Made famous by the Hovis advert of times gone by. This street must be one of the most famous in the world. The advert was filmed by Francis Ford Coppola and used a Yorkshire voice as the narrator, hance the alignment with Yorkshire.

It is a must visit and you can find it just off the high street behind the town hall. Just pop down the steps either side of the hall and enjoy the view. If you are feeling more adventurous you can walk down and up it or one day a year run up it with a 25kg cheese on your shoulder.

Duncliffe Wood

Duncliffe woods sit to the west of Shaftesbury and is a fantastic location to explore some proper Dorset countryside. Park at the bottom of the footpath that leads up to the woods and go exploring. The paths through the forest are well maintained and run all the way through and back. The woods are well signposted and if you keep climbing up you will pop out at the top and have a commanding view over Gillingham to Alfred’s Tower.

Duncliffe Wood is one of the oldest and largest woods in north Dorset. This magnificent ancient woodland sits on the twin summits of Duncliffe Hill and can be seen from miles around.

The wood has an ancient history and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Explore its mix of open glades, rides and trees, including the old coppice stools of small-leaved limes. It is looked after by the Woodland Trust.

Sturminster Mill

Sturminster Newton has two beautiful historic structures that make Dorset famous. The first is the mill at Sturminster which is still a working mill. Brought to the worlds attention during the pandemic by a CNN feature. If you want to visit the mill don’t forget to take your dogs and go for a walk along the River Stour and take in the glorious Sturminster Bridge.

You can arrange a visit to the museum and find out more about the Mill by clicking here.

Compton Abbas Airfield

Compton Abbas Airfield is well known as one of the most beautiful airfields in the UK. With far reaching views across the valley to Shaftesbury and hill top location second to none it has also recently been given a new lease of life by local resident Guy Ritchie. The airfield is now a major tourist attraction and has regular vintage days with fly ins of old aircraft including Spitfires which you can fly in for a small fee.

Compton Abbas Airfield

Old Wardour Castle

Wardour Castle or Old Wardour Castle is a ruined 14th-century castle at Wardour, on the boundaries of the civil parishes of Tisbury and Donhead St Andrew in the English county of Wiltshire, about 15 miles (24 km) west of Salisbury.

The castle was built in the 1390s, came into the ownership of the Arundells in the 16th century, and was rendered uninhabitable in 1643 and 1644 during the Civil War. A Grade I listed building,[1] it is managed by English Heritage and open to the public.

You can visit the Castle by heading north from Shaftesbury on the A350, take the first turning at the bottom of the hill towards Semley and follow signs through the village to Wardour.

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