Walking ancient Dorset paths to megaliths – and a village pub

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In this ancient corner of England near Abbotsbury, stone circles punctuate the open downland. Our writer picks a misty but atmospheric day to explore

With Stonehenge, Avebury and Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire is the English county most associated with Neolithic stone circles and barrows. Dorset, its southerly neighbour, has nothing on this scale, but there is an ancient quarry – the Valley of the Stones – and a number of smaller, but equally atmospheric archaeological sites surrounding it and snaking footpaths connecting them.

Our day out has maximum atmosphere. We park in the village of Portesham, a former quarrying community where boulders can still be seen along the main street: the land above us is shrouded in mist, which blurs the lines of the winter scene.

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