Volunteers helped National Trust rangers in Dorset give the Cerne Giant its annual haircut

The Romano-British Cerne Giant, thought to be Hercules, carved in chalk in the hillside at Cerne Abbas in Dorset (c)National Trust Images

 

Mild, wet autumn weather has resulted in above-average grass growth on the hillside, near Dorchester, threatening to obscure the Giant.

Rob Rhodes, National Trust Countryside Manager for West Dorset, said: “Record grass growth meant that the Cerne Giant was looking a bit sorry for himself. The sheep that graze the hillside throughout the year needed a bit of help from our ten volunteers and five rangers.”

Cleaning the Giant at Cerne Abbas (c)National Trust/Clive Whitbourn
Cleaning the Giant at Cerne Abbas (c)National Trust/Clive Whitbourn

On Wednesday, volunteers cut high grasses around the giant and trimmed the edges of the figure’s outline, which is cut into the chalk hillside.

The exact age of the giant is disputed by archaeologists, but could be thousands of years old.

Experts believe that the chalk outline could represent a Celtic fertility god, the Roman god Hercules, or Civil War leader Oliver Cromwell.

Rob Rhodes added: “Whoever created the Giant, it must have been hard work. The hillside is incredibly steep. In summer, the chalk grassland is home to rare plants like the Green-winged orchid.”

 

 

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