Shaftesbury, home of Gold Hill made famous by the Hovis commercials, is a small market town steeped in history.
This friendly town has a wide variety of independent shops, pubs and restaurants. Shaftesbury is built 718 feet (219 metres) above sea level on the side of a chalk and greensand hill, which is part of Cranborne Chase, the only significant hilltop settlement in Dorset. It is one of the oldest and highest towns in Britain.
The town looks over the Blackmore Vale, part of the River Stour basin. From different viewpoints, it is possible to see at least as far as Glastonbury Tor to the northwest.
A particularly scenic road is Gold Hill, the steep cobbled street that film director Ridley Scott used as the setting for an iconic television advertisement for Hovis bread that was frequently broadcast in the 1970s and 1980s.
Shaftesbury is also celebrated for its ruined abbey and the nearby Old Wardour Castle. About 2 miles to the west of the town rises the conical mound of Duncliffe Hill, visible for miles and home to Duncliffe Wood and a nature reserve.
In Thomas Hardy‘s Wessex, the Blackmore Vale is the “Vale of the Little Dairies” where Tess is employed, and the town itself also features (either as Shaston or “Palladour”) both in Tess of the d’Urbervilles and, especially, Jude the Obscure.
Distance from Nunney
24.5 miles (39.4 km)
40 minutes by car
Shaftesbury & Gillingham Tourism Services
8 Bell Street
Telephone 01747 853514
Email [email protected]
Tourism Services is open every week, Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm (Apr-Sep) and 10am-3pm (Oct-Mar).
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