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“Britain's largest fortified hill-top settlement”
Review of Maiden Castle

Maiden Castle
Ranked #2 of 40 things to do in Dorchester
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Yeovil, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
142 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 189 helpful votes
“Britain's largest fortified hill-top settlement”
Reviewed December 16, 2012

Maiden Castle is an Iron Age "hill fort" - actually a fortified hill-top settlement rather than what we might think of as a fort in the traditional sense. Going through several phases of development it became, at 47 acres, the largest hill fort in Britain. A walk around the ramparts gives a real impression of the vast scale of this settlement and how impregnable the defenses appear. There are no facilities on site and it is not 'wheelchair-friendly'.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
Thank Bob O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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279 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Bognor Regis, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
78 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Brisk Walk”
Reviewed November 10, 2012

We enjoyed a brisk walk up to the castle in the sunshine. Well signed bt English Heritage. Great to see so many families enjoying the site.

Visited November 2012
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Thank Therese B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dorchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
41 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“A snapshot of times long ago!”
Reviewed November 4, 2012

Other contributors have provided an excellent summary of this fantastic man made marvel on the south side of Dorchester. There are two other much smaller sites worthy of a look, Maumbury Rings and Poundbury Fort. Maiden Castle benefits from free and easy parking, and save for periods when sheep are grazing, it provides a great place to let the dog run. Also very good in the snow for sledging! The views in all directions are excellent, and the atmosphere is very peaceful what ever the weather. A note of caution, please take care on areas of exposed chalk, when it is wet this is very slippery. Secondly, beware of rabbit holes particularly numerous on the east side outer ring. One could suffer a nasty injury if you put your foot in one. Having said that go and explore.

Visited November 2012
Helpful?
Thank Nigel G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dorchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
28 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Amazing when you think about it...”
Reviewed October 25, 2012

This massive earthwork just south of Dorchester is so huge it only looks like a hill as you approach. Persevere with your walk or drive though, and you will find yourself marvelling at an intricate labyrinth of hill gates and steep cuttings that will blow your mind. If you wanted to build it nowadays, it would take an army of JCB's many years! Countless generations of Durotriges (Celts) built this amazing structure before the Romans came in and took it by force. There are some information boards in the car park at the foot of the hill which give a reasonable amount of information, but if you want to find out more, combine your visit with a trip to the County Museum in town, which has a brilliant video (narrated by Magnus Magnusson) and loads of fabulous artefacts. Maiden Castle itself is a rugged reminder of our ancient heritage and well worth a good walk. Take your dog as many people do, but keep an eye out for which areas are being grazed by sheep if you want to let him off the lead. It is a strangely wonderful place, free to visit and easy to park at. There are no facilities; the nearest loos are at Tesco or in town about a mile away. It is a bit sad that the Dorchester bypass runs nearby as it used to be a lot more atmospheric without the constant whoosh of traffic, but it is not invasive and you may sit and ponder here for many hours in summer. It is a very exposed site, so wrap up warm against the wind that whistles up from the coast just a few miles away, but it's hardly Dartmoor or The Peaks so you shouldn't be needing mountain rescue if it clouds over! In all, a great place to recharge your batteries, get some fresh air and meet a few friendly dog walkers. I'd give this place a much higher rating if they put a little visitor centre with loos there, but then, it probably wouldn't be free any more!

Visited September 2012
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3 Thank Helsbiggerpicture
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dorchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
209 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Ancient History on the edge of Dorchester”
Reviewed October 19, 2012

Owned by English Heritage, but not promoted in any way, this is a popular place to visit by locals and tourists alike. Covers a vast area and views from the top are great. Largest Iron Age fort in Western Europe.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
Thank DorsetNinja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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