Looking after the Cerne Giant
How many people does it take to look after Britain’s largest chalk giant? What keeps our teams busy throughout the year to keep him in tip-top condition? And how much chalk do you need to keep him visible for miles around? Find out about our work looking after the Cerne Giant, now over 100 years in our care.
" The dating of the Giant was only possible because the National Trust has preserved and maintained the figure, which otherwise might have been lost to history."
Keeping the Giant in tip-top condition
Keeping the grass short enough so that the Giant can be seen, in tandem with maintaining a flower-rich chalk downland can be a tricky balance to find.
It takes a team of National Trust staff, volunteers and a herd of sheep to keep the Cerne Abbas Giant in tip-top condition. We’ve put together some facts on what keeps them busy throughout the year:
Around 50 sheep graze on the Giant's enclosure, usually between May and June. By far the safest and most efficient way of mowing the hill and maintaining the chalk downland habitat.
After every grazing period, our team of rangers and volunteers have to hand brush the sheep poo off the Giant, so that the chalk layer is maintained in white colour and free of nutrients.
To maintain the visibility of the giant, our rangers trim the edges of the figure once during the summer - all 920metres of him!
The half a kilometre of fencing around the giant has to be in tip-top condition to prevent rabbits and cattle getting in which could cause significant damage to the protected monument.
The chalk grassland where the Giant lies is of national and European importance for the many rare chalk downland plants and invertebrates that thrive here.
It is through your support that we can carry out these works and continue to look after the Cerne Giant – thank you!