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

On the east, the Downs were once, thousands of years ago, continuous with Cranborne Chase, but the River Stour now cuts a valley between them, which is the location of Blandford Forum and the eastern boundary of the downs.

- Dorset Downs

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.

- River Stour, Dorset

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Blandford originated at a fording point over the River Stour

Blandford Forum

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 Forum, commonly Blandford, is a market town in Dorset, England, sited by the River Stour about 13 mi northwest of Poole.

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.

Corfe Castle, captured and destroyed by Cromwell's army in 1646

Dorset

County in South West England on the English Channel coast.

County in South West England on the English Channel coast.

Corfe Castle, captured and destroyed by Cromwell's army in 1646
Geological map of Dorset
Durdle Door, a natural arch near Lulworth Cove
The beach near Bournemouth Pier. Dorset's coastline is a major attraction for tourists.
The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester
Traction engines on display at the Great Dorset Steam Fair
Thomas Hardy
Sherborne Abbey

These limestone areas include a wide band of Cretaceous chalk which crosses the county as a range of hills from north-east to south-west, incorporating Cranborne Chase and the Dorset Downs, and a narrow band running from south-west to south-east, incorporating the Purbeck Hills.

These vales are dotted with small villages, farms and coppices, and include the Blackmore Vale (Stour valley) and Frome valley.

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

The vale is part of the Stour valley, part of the Dorset AONB and part of the natural region known as the Blackmoor Vale and Vale of Wardour.

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.