I have been to Shitterton in rural Dorset and it deserves a more appropriate name

Dorset certainly has some unusual place names, with several places in the county making the list of the worst in Britain. However, there is one in particular that really takes the cake.

Shitterton is a hamlet on the edge of Bere Regis, near Wareham, but you wouldn’t know it. I drove through the area and saw that there were no signs nearby that seemed to direct people to it. A single large stone sign actually bears the inscription of Shitterton, announcing to drivers that they have reached the hamlet.

At first I guessed it might be because the name created a local sense of shame. I assumed that the residents might not want tourists laughing at them, so I deliberately made it hard to find.

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However, there is a much more practical reason. In the 2000s, Shitterton had a chronic problem with sign theft, many of which were taken down by those looking for a laugh. In 2010, the villagers had had enough and they paid a heavy 680lb Purbeck stone sign to deter thieves.

It seems to have worked, as the sign remains there today. However, the size of the sign compared to those found in standard villages seemed at odds with the word engraved on it.

Shitterton is located on a road of the same name which branches off from West Street and joins near the A35 slip road. It is located on a stream that eventually crosses the aptly named River Piddle (also known as the River Trent).

Visitors may assume that the name of the hamlet is just unfortunate and had a completely different meaning historically. However, even more unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case.

Named Scatera, meaning manure, in the Doomsday Book, the hamlet’s name was modernized from 1086 into the Shitterton we know today. This is believed to be due to the stream running through the hamlet being used as an open sewer.

Despite its filthy origins, the hamlet is picturesque. Passing by I could see lots of greenery and typical Dorset countryside which unsurprisingly looked like Bere Regis next door.

The area is tiny and certainly not worth a whole day, but there are plenty of quaint cottages. Bere Regis itself is just a village, but definitely has a ‘chocolate box’ appeal with its thatched roofs and windy roads.

However, those who come from afar and really have to see this misnamed village are in luck. Despite its size, the hamlet offers a traditional thatched roof studio on Airbnb for tourists desperate to see the area.

The studio is however advertised as being in Bere Regis; maybe because tourists don’t usually start their Airbnb search with “sh*t” when looking for vacation homes.

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