The Knowlton Church ruins and earthworks in Dorset

The Knowlton Church ruins in Dorset

On a lonely stretch of road in Dorset, in the southwestern coast of England, the intrepid traveler will come upon a peculiar and intriguing site: the lovely ruins of an ancient stone church, surrounded by an even more ancient fixture: An earthwork ring, called a henge, wrapped protectively around the church. This is Knowlton Church.

A visit to Knowlton Church offers a fascinating glimpse of two societies long gone. The henge itself was probably created around 2,500 B.C., and may have been intended for ceremonial use. It's one of a series of earthworks and barrows (burial mounds) in the immediate region and calls to mind the more famous henge, made of standing stones, a bit to the north near Salisbury. Both these ancient monuments call to mind the neolithic inhabitants of this region. You'll swear you can almost sense their presence as you scramble to the top of them to check out the surrounding farm land.



The church itself is a Norman ruin, built in the 12th century. You'll want to wander through the well-maintained , roofless, interior, where you'll marvel at the quality of the stonework that has held up for hundreds of years. The church and the surrounding site offer numerous possibilities for the photographer.

This is a very worthwhile diversion for anyone who happens to find themselves in the south of England. The site is maintained by English Heritage, which, delightfully, lists the times of operation for the site as "any reasonable time" on their website.

Knowlton Church location and hours

Knowlton Church and earthworks
SW of Cranborne on B3078

The church ruins are open to visit at reasonable hours.

Admission is free, and you may find yourself the only visitors at this out-of-the-way but enchanting site.

Photo by trekker308 on flickr

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Last updated by Mary Van Keuren on 09 July, 2011 in Destinations.

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Comments

Sounds like a spectacular place to visit with two different sets of histories. It looks to be set aside from everything else. Is there much to visit around the Church and henge?

Bluegreen Kirk on 11 July, 2011

It's pretty rural around there. Stonehenge is close enough though, as is Salisbury and its cathedral.

Jack on 11 July, 2011

there is horton tower, chalbury church, the church in wimborne st giles,wimborne minster,

kinston lacy house, badbury rings

david cross on 03 June, 2012

Thanks David. Seems like there's actually quite a few things to see near Knowlton.

Jack on 05 June, 2012

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