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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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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

View of Chesil Beach and The Fleet

Weymouth Lowlands

The Weymouth Lowlands form a natural region on the south coast of England in the county of Dorset.

The Weymouth Lowlands form a natural region on the south coast of England in the county of Dorset.

View of Chesil Beach and The Fleet

A steep ridge of chalk marks the start of the Dorset Downs to the north; to the south is the Isle of Portland and to the east is the Isle of Purbeck

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

Watts Hill

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

Watts Hill is a hill in the Dorset Downs and one of the highest in the county of Dorset, England.