Dorchester
Cerne Abbas Giant
National Trust
Cerne Abbas
Dorset DT2 7JF 
 
 
 
The Cerne Abbas Giant is a massive outline figure cut into the chalk hillside overlooking the village of Cerne Abbas in Dorset. He is extremely well known because he is a naked, sexually aroused, club-wielding giant. It is unknown exactly what or who the figure represents and for many years he was thought to be pre-historic. Current opinion is that he was cut in the 17th century and represents the Roman hero, Hercules.
 
These theories are based on the fact that there is no written reference to the Giant before 1694; and Hercules was often depicted naked holding a club in his right hand and wearing a lion’s skin, draped over his left shoulder. In 1996 the faint outline of a cloak hung over the Giant’s left arm was found, strengthening the Hercules theory.
 
Other theories with little factual foundation are that it is a Pagan symbol of fertility, it was cut to celebrate King Alfred’s victory over the Danes, and it is a humorous caricature of Oliver Cromwell. The latter theory is based on the fact that the Giant was cut on land owned by Lord Denzil Holles, a well-known critic of Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell was sometimes mockingly referred to as "England's Hercules" by his enemies and perhaps the Giant seeks to satirise Cromwell’s stern puritanical rule.
 
There is no doubt that the Giant is a prominent landmark, and during the Second World War it had to be disguised to prevent it being used as a reference point by enemy bombers.
 
Facts and Figures
The Giant is 180 feet (55 metres) high and 167 feet (51 metres) wide cut through grass and earth into the underlying chalk.
 
Access
The Giant is best viewed from the other side of the valley but if you actually want to climb the steep hill and walk beside the Giant there is a car park at the foot of the hill. Paths lead to the figure.
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Tripadvisor here: 
 
Contact & Further Information
 
Getting There
The village of Cerne Abbas is 8 miles (13 km) north of Dorchester on the A352 Sherbourne road. The National Trust website link above has a good map to assist in your journey.
 
Google Map - Cerne Abbas Giant