Dorset Downs

The top of the downs from above Cerne Abbas, looking south east towards the River Piddle valley
Map of Dorset, including the Dorset Downs, showing the geology

Area of chalk downland in the centre of the county Dorset in south west England.

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

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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.

Part of the Roman town house near County Hall, showing the underfloor heating system

Dorchester, Dorset

County town of Dorset, England.

County town of Dorset, England.

Part of the Roman town house near County Hall, showing the underfloor heating system
Judge Jeffreys' lodging house, now a restaurant, in High West Street
Shire Hall in High West Street, where the trial of the Tolpuddle martyrs took place
A 1937 map of Dorchester
The River Frome on the edge of the town
Statue of Thomas Hardy beside The Grove, north of High West Street
Dorset County Museum
Church of St Peter
Dorchester Library and Learning Centre
Dorchester South railway station

A historic market town, Dorchester is on the banks of the River Frome to the south of the Dorset Downs and north of the South Dorset Ridgeway that separates the area from Weymouth, 7 mi to the south.

Stonehenge, the most famous antiquity on Salisbury Plain

Salisbury Plain

Chalk plateau in the south western part of central southern England covering 300 sqmi.

Chalk plateau in the south western part of central southern England covering 300 sqmi.

Stonehenge, the most famous antiquity on Salisbury Plain
Rough map of military training area (green) on Salisbury Plain within Wiltshire (blue) (it accounts for about half the area of Salisbury Plain)
Stonehenge, on Salisbury Plain
Military use makes some areas of the plain inaccessible to the public.
Typical grassland at Netheravon Down.
The burnt-tip orchid (Neotinea ustulata) can be found on Salisbury Plain
The Duke of Burgundy butterfly (Hamearis lucina)
The cuckoo bee Nomada armata
The fairy shrimp Chirocephalus diaphanus
The stone curlew

The Hampshire Downs and the Berkshire Downs are chalk downland to the east and north of Salisbury Plain, and the Dorset Downs and Cranborne Chase are to the southwest.

View from Hambledon Hill overlooking Child Okeford and Blackmore Vale

Blackmore Vale

Vale, or wide valley, in north Dorset, and to a lesser extent south Somerset and southwest Wiltshire in southern England.

Vale, or wide valley, in north Dorset, and to a lesser extent south Somerset and southwest Wiltshire in southern England.

View from Hambledon Hill overlooking Child Okeford and Blackmore Vale
Sturminster Newton watermill

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.

River Frome

Wareham, Dorset

Historic market town and, under the name Wareham Town, a civil parish, in the English county of Dorset.

Historic market town and, under the name Wareham Town, a civil parish, in the English county of Dorset.

River Frome
"Bloody Bank" is the high point in the distance, on West Walls
Lady St. Mary Church
St Martin's Church, Wareham
North St.
Wareham Town Hall

To the north west of the town a large conifer plantation, Wareham Forest stretches several miles to the A35 road and the southern foothills of the Dorset Downs.

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.

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.

Culver Down, Isle of Wight

Downland

For the ship anchorage, see The Downs (ship anchorage).

For the ship anchorage, see The Downs (ship anchorage).

Culver Down, Isle of Wight
Galium verum (L.) Lady's Bedstraw, a typical English chalk downland plant

To the southwest, downlands continue via Cranborne Chase into Dorset as the Dorset Downs and southwards through Hampshire as the Hampshire Downs onto the Isle of Wight.

River Frome, Dorset

River in Dorset in the south of England.

River in Dorset in the south of England.

The Frome estuary at Wareham

The river rises in the Dorset Downs at Evershot, passes through Maiden Newton, Dorchester, West Stafford and Woodsford.

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)

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.

The Hampshire Downs are one of the breadbaskets of Southern England. Here wheat is growing on the free draining chalk downs above Alresford.

Hampshire Downs

The Hampshire Downs form a large area of downland in central, southern England, mainly in the county of Hampshire but with parts in Berkshire and Wiltshire.

The Hampshire Downs form a large area of downland in central, southern England, mainly in the county of Hampshire but with parts in Berkshire and Wiltshire.

The Hampshire Downs are one of the breadbaskets of Southern England. Here wheat is growing on the free draining chalk downs above Alresford.

They are part of a belt of chalk downland that extends from the South Downs in the southeast, north to the Berkshire and Marlborough Downs, and west to the Dorset Downs.