location where the photographs were taken
find out morefind out more


Badbury Rings

Badbury Rings

Located immediately to the north of Wimborne, Badbury Rings is an Iron Age hillfort that dates from about 150BC. The fort consists of three concentric banks and ditches, the ditches were excavated into the chalk along the outer edges of each bank. The sketch to the right shows the present day arrangement of the banks. The photographs shown here were taken over a number of frosty days, early in January.

The main entrance to the hillfort was from the south-west, a dog-leg in the middle bank blocking any straight-line approach to the gap in the inner bank. A smaller entrance is on the eastern side. The cuts in the outer and middle banks on the north-western side post date the original fort. The fortifications were no defence against the invading Roman army who – under the command of Vespasian – defeated the Durotriges and took control of the area in AD43.

The Rings were clearly of some significance to the Romans; Ackling Dyke – the road built by the Roman army to link Salisbury (Old Sarum, to the north-east) and Dorchester (to the south-west) passes directly by the Rings, making there the only significant change in its otherwise completely straight course. The dark green line on the sketch above shows the course of Ackling Dyke alongside the Rings.

009-01 Badbury Rings 009-02 Badbury Rings 009-03 Badbury Rings 009-04 Badbury Rings 009-05 Badbury Rings
009-06 Badbury Rings 009-07 Badbury Rings 009-08 Badbury Rings 009-09 Badbury Rings 009-10 Badbury Rings
To view any image full size - simply click on the thumbnail

Badbury Rings are now cared for by the National Trust, and are managed as grass downland. A number of orchids have established themselves on the banks and nearby, the species distribution around the Rings reflecting the mirroring of slope and orientation of the banks on either side of the fort.


Find out more ...

In the top row of pictures:

  • Badbury Rings, a low mound made into a hillfort during the Iron Age, now covered with a copse of trees, seen from a short distance westwards along Ackling Dyke (picture)
  • The Rings seen from the east, the smaller eastern entrace to the hillfort (gaps in the banks) just to the left of centre (picture)
  • Sunrise seen from atop the inner bank, western side of the hillfort (picture)
  • Inside the hillfort, as it is now (picture)
  • The main (western) entrance to the hillfort, middle bank entrance gap in foreground, dog-legged middle bank beyond, inner bank in distance (picture)

In the bottom row of pictures:

  • Standing in the base of the ditch on the outside of the inner bank, giving some idea of the slope any attackers would have had to scale ... (picture)
  • ... atop the inner bank, the defender's view of the situation, and of the surrounding countryside (picture)
  • The Rings are now a popular walk, the duration of which can be tailored by the choice of bank – inner, middle or outer (picture)
  • At weekends many come to enjoy the late afternoon winter sun (picture)
  • Looking westwards from the Rings across the Kingston Lacy estate, winter sunlight backlighting a frosty January scene (picture)

See also: Orchids at Badbury Rings

Nearby locations that also feature in galleries on this site:

directionTarrant Valley, Hod Hill – the next major Iron Age hillfort to be encountered if heading northwards

directionHolt Heath



More views of Dorset in January

Other sites on the web

The National Trust:   Own and manage this site which is part of the Kingston Lacy estate, visitor information for Kingston Lacy and Badbury Rings

The Iron Age:   An excellent introduction to this period in the history of the British Isles, chapter 11 in Ron Wilcox's online texts on archaeology

Maps of the area on streetmap.co.uk:   1:50,000 – detail, 1:250,000 – locality and route to get there

picture resolution
The pictures of Badbury Rings in this gallery were captured at high resolution.
This is images of dorset stock photography gallery 009
All photographs copyright © 1998–2003 John Allen

top of page