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Cerne Abbas

Trip Planner Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Dorset  /  Cerne Abbas
(3.9/5 based on 320+ reviews for 4 attractions)
Things to do: historic sites, parks, sightseeing
Cerne Abbas is a village and civil parish in the county of Dorset in southern England. It lies in the West Dorset administrative district in the Cerne Valley in the Dorset Downs. The village lies just east of the A352 road 10km north of Dorchester. Dorset County Council estimate that the population of the civil parish in 2013 was 820. In the 2011 census the population of the civil parish, combined with the small neighbouring parish of Up Cerne, was 784.In 2008 it was voted Britain's "Most Desirable Village" by estate agent Savills. It is notable as the location of the Cerne Abbas Giant, a chalk figure of a giant naked man on a hillside.HistoryThe village of Cerne Abbas grew up around the great Benedictine abbey, Cerne Abbey, which was founded there in AD 987. The Domesday survey of 1087 recorded cultivated land for twenty ploughs, with 26 villeins and thirty two bordars. For more than 500 years, the abbey dominated the area. The abbey was surrendered to Henry VIII in 1539 with the Dissolution of the Monasteries and was largely destroyed; a portion of the Abbot's Porch and Abbey guesthouse remain. St Augustine's Well, reputedly blessed by the saint, also remains. St Mary's Church, built by the abbey for the parish in the late 13th century, is in the heart of the parish and retains many original features.
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