The top of the downs from above Cerne Abbas, looking south east towards the River Piddle valley
View from Hambledon Hill overlooking Child Okeford and Blackmore Vale
Map of Dorset, including the Dorset Downs, showing the geology
Sturminster Newton watermill

The Dorset Downs are bounded on the north, along the steep scarp face, by the Blackmore Vale, a large clay and limestone valley.

- Dorset Downs

To the south and east, the vale is clearly delimited by the steep escarpments of two areas of higher chalk downland, the Dorset Downs to the south, and Cranborne Chase to the east.

- Blackmore Vale
The top of the downs from above Cerne Abbas, looking south east towards the River Piddle valley

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River Stour, Dorset

61 mi river which flows through Wiltshire and Dorset in southern England, and drains into the English Channel.

61 mi river which flows through Wiltshire and Dorset in southern England, and drains into the English Channel.

It flows south into Dorset through the Blackmore Vale and the towns of Gillingham and Sturminster Newton.

At Blandford Forum the river breaks through the chalk ridge of the Dorset Downs, and from there flows south east into the heathlands of south east Dorset.

Blandford originated at a fording point over the River Stour

Blandford Forum

Market town in Dorset, England, sited by the River Stour about 13 mi northwest of Poole.

Market town in Dorset, England, sited by the River Stour about 13 mi northwest of Poole.

Blandford originated at a fording point over the River Stour
Plan showing the extent of damage of the 1731 fire; the properties shaded black were destroyed, those shaded yellow survived.
Blandford Forum Town Hall, rebuilt in 1734
Blandford Cemetery, one of the responsibilities of the Town Council
The Stour Valley immediately north of the town; much of the countryside around Blandford is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Church of St. Peter and St. Paul
Pump House fire monument
Bridge over the River Stour
Blandford Heights industrial estate on the northern edge of the town
Former Somerset and Dorset railway bridge at Blandford Forum. Following closure of the line, the span over the river (right) was demolished, and the earth embankment on the left was reused for nearby flood defence work, leaving it as a bridge to nowhere.
Blandford Town Museum
Blandford Bowls Club
Woodhouse Gardens
Blandford Elm, Edinburgh (2016)

By the 13th century, the settlement on the north bank of the river had become a market town with a livestock market serving the nearby Blackmore Vale with its many dairy farms.

Blandford is situated between Cranborne Chase and the Dorset Downs, to the south-east of the Blackmore Vale, 13 mi northwest of Poole and 22 mi southwest of Salisbury.

Location of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB in the UK

Cranborne Chase

Chalk plateau in central southern England, straddling the counties Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

Chalk plateau in central southern England, straddling the counties Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

Location of the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs AONB in the UK
Ashmore pond
Badbury Rings hill fort

The plateau is part of the English Chalk Formation and is adjacent to Salisbury Plain and the West Wiltshire Downs in the north, and the Dorset Downs to the south west.

The scarp slope of the hills faces the Blackmore Vale to the west, and to some extent the Vale of Wardour to the north.