Cerne Abbas is a beautiful Dorset village, but that’s not what it’s famous for.
The village is set in magnificent countryside at the head of the Cerne Valley, but it’s not famous for that either.
Nor is it famous for the River Cerne which runs along the bottom of the valley until it joins the Frome just North West of Dorchester.
There is, as the name suggests, an Abbey in the village, but other than contributing to the settlement’s name, Cerne Abbas isn’t very famous for that either.
There’s no getting away from it, Cerne Abbas is most famous for a carving of a giant brandishing a fearsome weapon....and carrying a knobbly club!
As our pictures show, he is a bold, excitable and well-endowed fellow!
No-one seems quite sure how or why the Cerne Giant is where he is or why he’s doing what he’s doing. Some say he’s an ancient carving dating from the Iron Age Celts or beyond. Others suggest he may have a Roman connection, while yet more claim his origins stem from a local landowner who wanted to express his distaste for Oliver Cromwell’s Puritans in a most graphic way.
This latter school of thought is based on the idea that, as no written record of “The Cerne Giant” can be found before the 1600’s, he may not have existed before that time. And you’d have to admit, if he was there before that, he’d have been pretty hard to miss!
That said, even the National Trust, who own the Giant don’t seem to be very sure of his origins. But given that they re-chalk him every 25 years, it can’t be beyond the realms of possibility that he’s an ancient giant that got uncovered and given a new lease of life, for whatever reason, around the time of Cromwell.
Whether you think he’s Pagan, Roman or simply a bit of Royalist graffiti, the Cerne Giant is well-worth a visit if you are passing that way.
Should some wag or child in your car point out that they have just seen a “giant penis”. Do not immediately dismiss their observation or chastise them. In this case, they are probably telling the truth.
Kids will certainly find the Cerne Giant something of a snigger-fest of a visit, while men who are insecure may not wish to go at all. As for the ladies, we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not size is the issue when it comes to giants and their anatomy!
If you do go to see the Giant at Cerne Abbas, don’t just check out the chalk carving on the hillside. Make sure you go into the village itself. For a start it is a very pretty village, and would probably be famous for it in its own right if it weren’t for the naked, excited giant living on its doorstep. There are plenty of good pubs and cafés to choose from and other bits and pieces to see and do: like the Abbey itself.
If nothing else, as you might expect, Cerne Abbas has a range of souvenirs, mementoes and keep sakes like no other! The urge to send postcards to old friends and colleagues may become overwhelming!
We would, however, suggest you resist the impulse mailing to your boss.
“I saw a giant prick today and thought of you...” may seem a lot less funny when you have your P45 in your hand!
So, there you have it. Cerne Abbas, a beautiful Dorset village with a very large chalk carving of a naked giant with a huge willy. Lot’s of historical stuff too, no doubt, and stories in the village of ghosts and such like.
But lets be honest, the thing anyone is going to remember most about a visit to a beautiful village with a large, naked, chalk-giant with his willy out, is going to be the large, naked giant and his willy.
It’s sad, but that’s just the way it is. It’s also why Cerne Abbas isn’t famous for its beauty, its history, its countryside or its river, but for its chalk carving.
Go and see it. It’s great in every sense, but although you’ll remember it less, the village is probably even better!
There’s no getting away from it, Cerne Abbas is most famous for a carving of a giant brandishing a fearsome weapon....and carrying a knobbly club!..."