countryside, Dorset, King Alfred The Great, scenic views, Shaftesbury, Sir Fredrick Treves "The Highways and Byways in Dorset", views
Shaftesbury is a very interesting place, but I must confess that I spent most of my time there with my back to the town, admiring the breathtaking views of the Dorset countryside afforded by the high ground [a certain on-line encyclopaedia informs me that Shaftesbury is one of the oldest and highest towns in Britain at 718 ft (219 m) above sea level]. I don’t often compare myself to illustrious figures from Britain’s past, but I’m sure Alfred The Great, who fortified the hilltop back in Anglo-Saxon times, did much the same back in 880. It is a place to stand still and to observe, as you can see, but it is also a place for action, a place to explore from [I’m sure Alfred The Great would have agreed with me, despite the fact he didn’t have the luxury of being driven around Dorset by my host and good friend, Mr. W].
To quote from Sir Fredrick Treves’ “The Highways & Byways in Dorset“: “There is no spot like it beyond the confines of Britain. It is so typical of the island that it might claim to be symbolic of the Heart of England“.