Much more than Hovis Hill

Today was errand day. We’re lucky at Bloomfield to be surrounded by lots of beautiful towns including Sturminster Newton and Blandford. However today we decided to make the 20 minute journey to Shaftesbury as we were looking for a birthday present and there is no better place in the area that has so many small independent businesses that sell typical gifts and many more unusual items. The high street is lined with amazing shops catering for your every need from toys to clothes and books to gifts…….not to mention the fabulous cafes.  The smell of fresh baked bread, cakes and pastries as you walk past Reeves the bakers is sure to lure you in. Our first purchases of the day had to be a fresh French stick, Reeves famous cheese straws and warm sausage rolls.

Heading down Shaftesbury high street you can’t help but be drawn towards what Shaftesbury is probably most famous for, Gold Hill. Yes it really is as impressive as you’ve heard.  This steep, cobbled cottage lined hill was made famous by the Hovis bread advert, remember the young boy pushing his bike up the hill with fresh bread in his basket? Poor lad, I wouldn’t want to cycle up that hill!!! The view from the top of Gold Hill is simply stunning. Even on a dreary day like today we could still see the far reaching Dorset countryside…….absolutely breathtaking.

When we came back out onto the high street, we turned left and headed along Park Walk which leads to Shaftesbury Abbey. As expected, today it was closed but as Spring arrives the Abbey will be open to visitors. The Abbey was built in AD888 by King Alfred the Great but unfortunately was destroyed by good old Henry VIII.  The remains which are contained in a beautiful walled garden certainly should to be visited and deserves to have it’s story told.

Heading back down the high street, half way down on the left is Swan Yard. I was thinking of buying a picture as a birthday gift so this was the ideal spot. Popping into Cygnet Gallery provided me with exactly what I was after but I was also drawn into the Potting Shed where I ended up buying a couple of lovely plants that will look great at Bloomfield.

I had by now spent more than enough and as Shaftesbuy is so high up with it’s own little weather system the rain had arrived and our warm sausage rolls were becoming far too tempting.

Shaftesbury really is a place that welcomes you wholeheartedly however with every visit you feel you’ve discovered something new. It’s a town that encourages visitors from all over.  Shaftesbury Arts Center has a timetable packed with theater, film, music and entertainment. There are also many organised events such as Shaftesbury Fringe (22nd – 25th July), Gold Hill Festival (3rd July). And if you did fancy cycling up the fabulous Gold Hill then feel free to sign up to the North Dorset Cycle ride (15th May) The finish line is at the top of the hill!!!!!! Goodluck!

We had a lovely morning in town, thank you Shaftesbury!

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