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Maiden Castle

Enjoy spectacular views and discover fascinating history at one of  England's largest Iron Age hill forts, home to temples, battlements and ancient burial sites.

Maiden Castle is not actually a castle but rather the remains of an Iron Age settlement. Its name comes from the Celtic for “great hill” and references the elevated site upon which it stands. Scale the stacks of grassy ridges surrounding the area and explore this location of great historical significance. Climb to the top for views of Dorchester’s pretty landscape.

Look for the Bronze Age burial mounds and archaeological findings from the late Stone Age suggesting that Maiden Castle could have been created as long ago as 3000 B.C. It was expanded in the Iron Age, when ramparts and ditches were built to protect the fort from invaders. This didn't stop the Romans, who invaded under Vespasian's command in A.D. 43 and took the strategic location after a difficult battle. Read more about the history of the site on the information boards in the parking lot.

Though little remains of the original structure, the outline of the complex is still visible. Picture yourself as an invader or settler as you wander the expansive fortifications. Imagine how the settlement would have looked behind the 20-foot-tall (6-meter) walls.

From the top, enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding region. To the north lies Poundbury, a picturesque modern development west of Dorchester that was commissioned by the Prince of Wales. Walk around the ridge to get a better sense of the huge scale of the fort.

Inspect the remains of a 3rd-century Roman temple northeast of the fort. The fort was abandoned after the invasion but became a sacred site for the new pagan religion that mixed Roman and British traditions. The temple foundations are the only visible structure remaining at Maiden Castle.

Find out more about the castle in nearby Dorset County Museum, which houses artifacts that have been recovered from the site. Learn about Iron Age life and check out examples of pottery, working tools and burial items on display here.

Maiden Castle is free to enter and can be accessed from Dorchester, which is about 2 miles (3 kilometers) away. Drive here and park for free in the on-site lot.


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                Situated in Dorchester, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Borough Gardens, Maumbury Rings, and Tutankhamun: The Exhibition. Dinosaur Museum and The Keep Military Museum are also within 10 minutes. Dorchester South Station and Dorchester West Station are within a 5-minute walk.

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