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24 September 2014

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You are in: Dorset > Places > Places features > The South's man-made wonders

The Cerne Abbas Giant

The Cerne Abbas Giant

The South's man-made wonders

There's several man-made wonders around the South of England, including a few in Dorset. A BBC Radio Solent campaign asked for yours, and here's a selection of some of the favourites from around the whole region.

Cerne Abbas Giant

There are numerous theories as to when and why the giant was created - one of the more popular being that it is a representation of the Greek-Roman god Hercules, who is often represented with a club and an animal fur.

Cerne Abbas

Cerne Abbas

The theory given the most weight by historians is that it was created during the reign of the Emperor Commodus between 180 - 193 AD.  Or others say it could only be a few hundred years old!

The New Forest

Believe it or not the New Forest also belongs in the man-made category. It was created in 1079 by William I (known as William the Conqueror) as a hunting area, principally of deer.

New Forest

New Forest

The Forest has National Park status and is home to about 34,400 people. It's also inhabited by a huge variety of wildlife including the famous New Forest ponies.

Portsdown Hill

During the mid nineteenth century, the fortifications on Portsdown Hill above Portsmouth were just part of the line of defence that stood between England and the powerful French navy.

Portsdown Hill

Portsdown Hill

However the fear of invasion proved groundless, and they became known as Palmerston's Folly, after the then Prime Minister, Lord Palmeston who ordered the building of the fortifications.  

Osborne House

Best known as the island retreat for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight was transformed from a modest Georgian house into a Royal Palace by the architect Thomas Cubitt during the mid-nineteenth century.

Osborne House

Osborne House

Once all the work was complete, a pair of Italianate towers dominated the landscape of terrace fountains and rolling parklands and looked out at passing ships in the nearby Solent.

HMS Victory

Launched in 1765 at Chatham Dockyard, Victory has been the centre-piece of this years Trafalgar 200 celebrations in Portsmouth.  Retired from frontline duty in 1812, Victory still remains flagship of the Second Sea Lord and also serves as a living museum.

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

It is also infamous for its quarterdeck – the equivalent of a modern ship's Operations Room - where Lord Nelson was felled by a shot from a sniper. He was taken four decks below, where he died four hours later.

And what about others in Dorset? There's Maiden Castle, the giant Iron Age hill fort outside Dorchester, historic Sherborne Abbey and Corfe Castle or maybe Bournemouth Pier? Add your comments and suggestions on the form below.


last updated: 23/06/2008 at 12:30
created: 12/08/2005

Have Your Say

Tell us your favourite Dorset man-made wonder or add your own choice to the list.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Bob Sharkey
The forts at Portsdown were built to protect the naval base from enemy action, including forces landed elsewhere and then able to besiege the port.

Adam Cook
The Cerne Abbas giant is Hercules. On Arthur C Clarkes Mysterious World they did some seismology and found that there is meant to be a cloak(animal fur)hanging off his arm.

Philip Walker
Out of this list, I would choose Cerne Abbas Giant. Quite a distraction in the lovely Dorset countryside. I would add Lancing College in Sussex. You can't not stare as it looks down on the Sussex Downes.

lin courtney
It must be the Giant of Cerne Abba. In Australia they think it is a spoof.The Brits are far too up tight to have a male figure carved into a hillside as gentle as Dorset

Roger Fells
Portland Harbour Breakwater

Hardy's Monument
Wonderful views. A focal point for Dorset.

Frank Walker
Christchurch Priory puts them all in the shade

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