location where the photographs were taken
find out morefind out more


Melbury Abbas, Cann

A late June walk over the chalk escarpment of north-east Dorset. Starting above Fontmell Magna (ST 888 179) the route passes over Fontmell Down onto Melbury Hill (ST 873 197) – 263m above sea level – and drops northwards to West Melbury (ST 872 204). Then descends into the valley between Melbury Hill and Shaftesbury, past Melbury Abbas Mill and Cann Mills. Finally turning northwards up French Mill Lane past Holyrood Farm, reaching the hilltops once more at Shaftesbury.

029-01 Melbury Abbas, Cann 029-02 Melbury Abbas, Cann 029-03 Melbury Abbas, Cann 029-04 Melbury Abbas, Cann 029-05 Melbury Abbas, Cann
029-06 Melbury Abbas, Cann 029-07 Melbury Abbas, Cann 029-08 Melbury Abbas, Cann 029-09 Melbury Abbas, Cann 029-10 Melbury Abbas, Cann
To view any image full size - simply click on the thumbnail

Much of the route covered in this gallery is across National Trust land, with several parts of the chalk escarpment being actively managed to preserve the diverse wildlife found on these increasingly rare areas of unimproved chalk downland.


Find out more ...

In the top row of pictures:

  • Longcombe Bottom, Fontmell Down to the right, looking south-westwards (picture)
  • Cattle grazing on Fontmell Down, looking down on Manor Farm – 17th century (picture)
  • Medieval terracing and fields at the western foot of Melbury Hill (picture)
  • From Melbury Hill the view across West Melbury and Cann to Shaftesbury on the distant hilltop (picture)
  • The view north-eastwards, Melbury Abbas in the foreground, Cann Common beyond, Zig-Zag hill to the right (picture)

In the bottom row of pictures:

  • The view eastwards, Zig-Zag hill to the left, Breeze Hill to the right (picture)
  • Melbury Abbas Mill (picture)
  • Cann Mills (picture)
  • On the ascent from French Mill to Shaftesbury, French Mill Lane (picture)
  • Looking south-eastwards from Shaftesbury, across Holyrood Farm to Melbury Hill (picture)

Nearby locations that also feature in galleries on this site:



directionBlandford Forum

More views of Dorset in June

Other sites on the web

Dorset Wildlife Trust:   Fontmell Down reserve is part owned by the Trust and part leased from The National Trust

The Dorset Page:   Compton Abbas, Melbury Abbas, Shaftesbury – local information and links to further resources on the web

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 Melbury Abbas, Cann in this gallery were captured at high resolution.
This is images of dorset stock photography gallery 029
All photographs copyright © 1998–2003 John Allen

top of page