Photo By Peter Watts
Badbury Rings

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Badbury Rings are a great place to explore, relax and appreciate the surrounding countryside of Dorset. The ramparts are still impressive, steep enough that they are difficult to climb. Paths run along the tops of them. This panoramic image was taken on the path approaching the hill forts.


Badbury Rings - Wimborne Minster visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Badbury Rings' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Dorset.

Badbury Rings is an ancient Iron Age hill fort in Dorset, close to both Wimborne Minster and Blandford Forum. Use of the site goes back at least to the Bronze Age (2200BC-800BC), as shown by the presence of 4 Bronze Age round barrows (burial mounds). The hill fort is thought to have been used from about 800BC to around 47AD, the time the Romans invaded Britain. From the top there are commanding panoramic views over the surrounding Dorset countryside, and on a clear day it is possible to see all the way to the Isle of Wight. There are two other panoramas that show the views from the top of the inner rampart and also some sense of the steep trough between ramparts.

Whilst no excavation has been done on the site, there are some signs that circular huts occupied the central part of the fort from the circular depressions in the ground about 3m across. It is thought that the fort may have been occupied by the Durotriges tribe, who also built Maiden Castle near to Dorchester.

Badbury Rings is surrounded by 3 concentric ditches and ramparts. The ditches are up to 7m deep with the excavated earth being piled up to form the ramparts. This provides defensive structures would have reached 40ft (15m) in height, and though 2000 years erosion has reduced this, the ramparts are still impressive today. Each rampart would then have been topped with a palisade to provide further defense. The weakest parts of the structure would have been the wooden gates that provided access between the ramparts. These were built at the same point of each circle, which may have helped every day access, but were often burnt down in a successful attack.

The site also contains the remains of 2 important Roman roads. The large earthwork remains of the road from Dorchester to Old Sarum runs across the west of Badbury Rings. This crosses another road to the north of the site that may have run from Bath to Hamworthy (Poole). The Romans left Britain in the early 5th Century. The area was then invaded by Jutes, Angles and Saxons. Writings by Gildas, a monk at the time, indicate that this advance was impeded for several generations when a fierce warrior named Arthur was the victor in a battle at Mons Badonicus (Mount Badon). It is thought that this location could have been the hill fort at Badbury Rings.

Today Badbury Rings is managed by the National Trust. Entrance is free.


Car: Babury Rings lies on the B3082 Blandford Road which runs from Wimborne Minster to Blandford Forum. The site is about 4 miles for Wimborne, and about 6 from Blandford. Parking available next to the site.

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