Maiden Castle

Top choice in Dorset

Occupying a massive slab of horizon on the southern fringes of Dorchester, Maiden Castle is the largest and most complex Iron Age hill fort in Britain. The first defences were built on the site around 500 BC – in its heyday it was densely populated with clusters of roundhouses and a network of roads. The Romans besieged and captured Maiden Castle in AD 43 – an ancient Briton skeleton with a Roman crossbow bolt in the spine was found at the fort.

The huge, steep-sided chalk ramparts flow along a hill's contour lines and surround 48 hectares – the equivalent of 50 football pitches. Up close, the sheer scale of the defences is awe-inspiring, and the winding complexity of the west entrance reveals just how hard it would be to storm.

Finds from the site are displayed at Dorset County Museum. Maiden Castle is 1.5 miles southwest of Dorchester.

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