Maiden Castle in Dorset is one of the largest and most complex Iron Age hillforts in Europe – the size of 50 football pitches. Its huge multiple ramparts, mostly built in the 1st century BC, once protected hundreds of residents. When it was first built, the gleaming white chalk ramparts would have towered over the surrounding landscape.
Excavations here have revealed much about Maiden Castle’s history, such as a Neolithic enclosure from about 3500 BC and a Roman temple built in the 4th century AD. The archaeologists also found evidence of a late Iron Age cemetery, where many of those buried had suffered horrific injuries.
Before You Go
Access: The ramparts are uneven and not suitable for wheelchairs.
Parking: There is a small car park at the fort which can become busy at peak times.
Dogs: Dogs are welcome, but please keep them on a lead as sheep graze the site.
Please be aware: The footpaths at Maiden Castle have been created over time by people walking them, in some areas the chalk has been exposed to create an uneven slippery surface, care should be taken and sturdy footwear is recommended when visiting Maiden Castle.
The site is very exposed, with no shelter.
English Heritage does not permit drone flying from or over sites in our care, except by contractors or partners undertaking flights for a specific purpose, who satisfy stringent CAA criteria, have the correct insurances and permissions, and are operating under controlled conditions.
Plan a Great Day Out
Extend your visit to Maiden Castle by exploring some of the other sites in the area. Three miles from Maiden Castle are The Nine Stones, a small prehistoric circle of standing stones. Slightly further in the same direction is Winterbourne Poor Lot Barrows, a series of 44 Bronze Age burials south of the A35.
The nearby village of Abbotsbury is also home to St Catherine's Chapel and the remains of a Benedictine Abbey. If you are heading to the coast, why not also visit one of Henry VIII's finest coastal fortresses - Portland Castle overlooks Portland Harbour and boasts a great tearoom and stunning views out to sea.