Cerne Abbas to Yeovil 1. Corton Denham

Just a few minutes drive west takes you across the county border into Somerset and the vibrant market town of Yeovil. The town began life as a Roman settlement, but it was during the Middle Ages when a market was established that Yeovil became a thriving town.

As far back as the 14th century, the town has had a strong connection with the glove-making industry, which gave employment to so many cottagers in this area. Look for Glovers' Walk in the town. In the 1830s it was said that 3 million pairs were made each year in Yeovil.

Fuelled by a passion for collecting fine cars and anything related to them, John Haynes OBE had amassed a collection of 29 cars and 3 motorcycles. He wanted this collection to be accessible to the public, so on the 10th July 1985 the Haynes International Motor Museum first opened its doors.

Meandering through the valley of the River Cerne, the Dorchester to Sherborne road reveals some of the most attractive countryside in Wessex. A spine of chalk hills separates the northern and southern halves of Dorset, and four rivers, the Piddle, Frome, Cerne and Sydling Water, rise on these hills and flow southwards in parallel. It is these rivers that have carved out the steep-sided valleys that characterise this area.

Hidden in the valleys are tiny villages with wonderful names; Sydling St Nicholas, Minterne Magna, Piddletrenthide, Alton Pancras and many more, approached by narrow lanes along the valley bottoms.

Central to the area is Cerne Abbas, which has long benefited from its main attraction, the figure of a very well endowed gentleman carved in the turf on the chalk hillside north of the village. The Cerne Abbas Giant is in the care of the National Trust. It is 180 feet high and is believed to be pre-Roman, possibly the tribal symbol of the Durotriges.

Much of the village is 18th century, with some older houses, and is extremely attractive. The presence of the Giant has created a minor tourist industry and there is an excellent selection of shops and pubs for visitors enjoyment.

From Cerne Abbas the main road continues to wind its way to Sherborne. Something of a time capsule, it is helped considerably by the virtual traffic ban in the town centre, which gives the town a quiet, unhurried air.

Sherborne today is a prosperous rural town, with some light industry; and with more than ten schools in the town education is an important source of employment. One of the town’s main industries is tourism and the mix of craft, gift, antique and fashion shops reflect this, as does of course the wealth of history all around.


The collection of cars, motorcycles and automobilia continued to grow, as did the Museum with regular extensions including the development of a test circuit adjacent to the main building. Investment in the site and the collection has continued to this day and now, after an extensive £6m redevelopment completed in April 2014, the Museum boasts over 400 vehicles in 15 very distinct exhibitions, a stunning entrance foyer and reception area, a large museum shop selling gifts for both young and old as well as specialist memorabilia, and Café 750 which serves delicious home cooked food.

The exhibitions, from the “Dawn of Motoring” through to “Supercar Century” take you on a journey from early beginnings to present day supercars taking in vehicles from across the globe along the way. The Museum will give you unrivalled access to explore, discover and experience the history, designs and technologies of motoring from around the world.

The Museum also offers fun for all the family with Haynes Motorland including an electric go-kart track, and the Vroom Room (an indoor soft play barn). Within the Museum you will find Paint-a-Mini, an auto-games area, dressing up and photo points as well as brass rubbings and a Top Trumps trail. Added to this there is an extensive programme of events for both children and adults throughout the year.

Whether you are a motoring enthusiast, a family looking for a fun day out, or a group of friends young or old, the Haynes International Motor Museum offers an unrivalled experience. For further information please visit

Standing in the shadow of Cadbury Castle, Haynes Museum is also at the heart of King Arthur country. Of all the legends in Europe that of King Arthur and the Round Table is one of the most enduring. The whereabouts of the equally famous Camelot is not certain, but it has long been agreed that the best contender is Cadbury Castle.

Standing on top of Cadbury Castle can be an inspiring moment. If you are drawn to find out more, then browse in the bookshops of Somerset, where you will find many learned tomes - and several entertaining works of fiction - dealing with this golden age of English chivalry.

The Tourist Handbook Wessex 2018-19

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