Pentridge on Cranborne Chase, like so many places on this hunting ground of old, is a little hamlet, hiding at the end of a lane off the Salisbury-Blandford road and is thus quiet and isolated, always in the shadow of Pentridge Hill. With the heights of Cranborne Chase on the other side of the road, Pentridge could almost be said to be at the gateway into Dorset.

The village is often mistakenly said to be the birthplace of the Dorset poet, William Barnes, but his Pentridge, a small farm near Sturminster Newton, has long been obliterated from the map.

From the name, it would appear that wild boar roamed this very ancient place on Cranborne Chase - in fact, it is one of the few places in Wessex to preserve its ancient place name. It comes from the Welsh: pen - hill, twrch - boar.

The first recorded name of the hamlet, Pentric, appeared 80 years before the birth of Alfred.

Beyond the village lies Pentridge Hill a long, whaleback-shaped feature. Standing above the gently rolling chalk down lands of north-east Dorset, it is formed by a harder, more resistant band in the chalk, which also forms Windmill Hill in Hampshire, just to the east, and the more distant Gallows Hill in Wiltshire. Penbury Knoll (606 feet), with its thicket of pines, is the highest point of Pentridge Hill. The deep coombes on either side were probably formed in the Ice Age, when they would have been filled with snow for much of the year; freezing and thawing around these patches of snow would have enlarged the Ice Age hollows to their present size. In the fields just to the east of Penbury Knoll there are numerous small, rounded flint pebbles, which indicate that the highest parts of Pentridge Hill carry an isolated capping of much younger rocks than the chalk, the Reading Beds. These pebbly sands appear at the surface in a more continuous belt to the south-east between Fordingbridge and Horton.

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