Maiden Castle

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Maiden Castle — Dorset, England

Dorchester is the location of Maiden Castle, the largest and most complex Iron Age hill fort in Britain. The castle was first laid out in 600BC over the remains of a Neolithic settlement. During the following centuries the hill fort was extended and additional defences thrown up around it.

Maiden CastleThe vast multiple ramparts enclose an area the size of 50 football pitches, and the site was home to several hundred people in the Iron Age (800 BC - 43 AD). Excavations here have revealed that occupation of this hilltop began over 6,000 years ago, in the Neolithic period. In AD43 it was taken by the Roman army and its inhabitants moved to the new town of Durnovaria, modern Dorchester.

Access to the site is by a short but steep trail to the right of the car park, which leads you through the original Iron Age entrance to the hill fort. Another trail takes you across the hill fort defences and involves some steps. The top of the hill fort is grass but surfaces can be irregular, with some low vegetation. Visitors should exercise caution as there are many steep banks and deep ditches.

Where is Maiden Castle?

Maiden Castle is located at the southern side of Dorchester along the A35 between Dorchester and Weymouth.

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