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Shaftesbury is one of the oldest and highest towns in England and dominates the landscape of what Thomas Hardy called the 'engirdled and secluded' Blackmore Vale.

'Shaston,' as is was known is Hardy's time offers visitors breathtaking views of the surrounding Dorset countryside and a colection of fine historical buildings including Shaftesbury Abbey, Gold Hill and the Park Wall. Nearby there is the beautiful and secluded ruins of Wardour Castle, Stourhead and it's world famous gardens and Longleat Safari Park.


Shaftesbury and the surrounding area benefit from a choice of excellent public and state schools including Clayesmore, Bryanston, St Marys School for girls, Sandroyd, Port Regis, Shaftesbury School and Sports College, Gillingham Upper School and a choice of Primary Schools, many in the surrounding villages.


Sports and recreation are easy to come by with the beautiful countryside offering walks, outriding and cyclepaths to please everyone, there are also 18 and 9 hole golf courses at Sherborne, Bourton, Rushmore and Mere to name but a few.  There are gyms and sports centres at Clayesmore, Port Regis, Gillingham and on the outskirts of Shaftesbury.  Within the town there is a doctors surgery, choice of dentists, a cottage hospital, opticians, many boutique shops, a thriving Arts Centre, cafes and restaurants whilst there are many public houses in the towns of Shaftesbury, Gillingham, Mere and the surrounding villages.

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Shaftesbury also has some very good schools servicing all ages and covering state and independent and these include:

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