If you turn left out of Kingston Lacy’s Blandford Drive and pass through the grand avenue of beech trees, it won’t be long (less than a mile!) before you reach Badbury Rings. Badbury is one of Dorset’s eighteen Iron Age hillforts. And it’s one of the finest.
Rich in history, flora and fauna, the rings sit 100 metres above sea level and offer sweeping views across Dorset. They also hold the secrets of past civilisations.
There is evidence of Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman occupation at Badbury. However, the site is known mostly for its Iron Age hill fort with its three rings. It is thought the inner most ring dates from around 500 -600 BC.
A number of tribes settled at Badbury Rings. Among them were the Durotriges – a Celtic tribe who lived in parts of the South West of England prior to the Roman occupation of 43 AD.
Next to Badbury Rings is High Wood, another Iron Age enclosure. The head of a Palaeolithic flint tool was discovered by National Trust archaeologists during an excavation at the site. Estimated to be between 12,000 and 40,000 years old, it is the oldest recorded object in Kingston Lacy’s collection.
The National Trust acquired Badbury Rings as part of the Bankes Estate in 1982. Since then, a programme of careful management has preserved the rings and enabled centuries-old wildlife and plant life to flourish. Today Badbury Rings remains a favourite spot for nature lovers and walkers – and dogs on leads are welcome too.