A walk through ancient landscapes

A  walk will take you to this enigmatic sounding set of stones, tucked away north of Portesham.

Hell Stone

The Hell Stone long barrow was constructed around the same time as Grey Mare and her Colts. However, antiquarians in 1866 decided to reconstruct the stone chamber at the front of the long earthen mound, setting these huge stones upright with a cap on top. Although tucked away between the Hardy Monument and Abbotsbury, you can follow the route marked on our Field Guide series for the route.

Long barrows are associated with the Neolithic period (6000-4500 years ago) and the South Dorset Ridgeway boasts at least 10 of them! These long earth and stone mounds would have contained a burial chamber for several burials. Three unusually long mounds also exist from this early period, known as ‘bank barrows’. These don’t appear to be to be associated with burial and may have defined the boundaries of land ownership.

Discovering the South Dorset Ridgeway

Hidden in the hills between Dorchester and Weymouth lies a remarkable landscape just waiting to be discovered.

This is the South Dorset Ridgeway, not just an ancient trackway but a ridge of high land that has attracted people for thousands of years – a special place to celebrate life and bury their dead.

Experts tell us that this ridge of land is as important as Stonehenge and Avebury for the scale of monuments and what they tell us of life in the past. But without a stone henge, this vast ceremonial landscape remains one of the UKs best kept secrets!

You don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy this ‘land of bone and stone’ – it’s an intriguing mix of wildlife, geology and history all wrapped up in modern day life.
The South Dorset Ridgeway Guide will show you that the South Dorset Ridgeway is a great place not just to celebrate life but to live it too. Whether you’re interested getting out and about with the kids, letting off steam, going for a hike, spotting wildlife or simply enjoying a stunning view … you’ll find plenty to do here.