The downs are named after the village of Cranborne, dating back to Saxon times, with a manor house and small monastery, the word chase comes from the historic royal hunts which used to take place many years ago. The whole area covers 379 square miles, mainly including Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire and was designated an AONB in 1981. There are lots of lovely holiday cottages in the Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs to choose from and use our extensive feature list to make sure you find your perfect one such as enclosed garden, village or pub within walking distance or part of our luxury collection, the choice really is yours.
The area is very varied with the most dramatic scenery near the boundary of Dorset and Wiltshire where chalk downland rises sharply to rounded summits. This lends itself to some wonderful walking so perfect if you take your four legged friend. One prominent hill is Menbury Hill which looks like an island rising above the very flat expanses of Compton Abbas airfield, well worth the climb to see lovely views. Don’t miss a walk up to Win Green the highest point at 277 metres on the chase, you can see as far as the Isle of Wight and the Quantock Hills on a good day.
With cottage rentals in Cranborne Chase West Wiltshire Downs you can base yourself near to rolling chalk grassland, ancient woodland, chalk escarpments, hills or river valleys all very distinct and just as they were centuries ago. The area is sprinkled with shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants were you can sample the local delicacies and arts and crafts in places like Wimborne Minster, Hillbutts and Furzehill.
Visit Larmer Tree Gardens which is a great example of Victorian extravagance with magnificent laid out gardens and woodland, in spring there is a wonderful display of Camellias and Rhododendrons. There is also an amazing collection of enchanting ornate buildings.
Old Waldour Castle built in the 14th century sits beside a lake and a lovely day out with family fun trails throughout the summer. You’ll love the grounds and a great venue for the historians amongst us as well. Stourhead House and Gardens has something for everyone with 2,650 acres to explore plus a restaurant, shop, pub, art gallery and farm shop.
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