Shaftesbury, the ‘Shaston’ of the Thomas Hardy novels is an ancient town and one of the highest in England.Overlooking the Blackmore Vale in Dorset it offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Situated some 25 miles to the West of Salisbury, the town is full of many old and semi-forgotten treasures.
One of the most famous is Gold Hill, the steep cobbled Saxon era street that a small boy pushed a Hovis bread bicycle up in the advertisement back in the 1980’s.
At the top of Gold Hill Lies the sandstone Gold Hill Museum and Garden, with artefacts such as the town’s first fire engine and a mummified cat.
Around the corner from Gold Hill is Park Walk, where you can relax with friends and gaze for miles across the Vale and St James.
Just off Park Walk is Shaftesbury Abbey, famous for the barrel thought to hold Edward’s remains and the aromatic herb garden.
The three main churches, St Peter’s (the oldest), St James’ and Holy Trinity (now converted to community use) are also all worth a visit.
The town also boasts one of the best volunteer led arts centres in SW England, the Hine collection of mechanical musical instruments and the Grosvenor Hotel that has stood since before 1541.
Shaftesbury offers a unique day out with some 9 inns to choose from for a pleasant lunch and liquid refreshment. At a loss one Sunday,? Go and take a look for yourself.