One of Britain’s most famous views is being ‘ruined’ by scaffolding as a renovation of a nearby house blocks part of the landscape, visitors have claimed.
Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset is perhaps one of the most recognizable settings of rural England, having been used in the famous 1973 Hovis advertisement.
The ‘Boy On The Bike’ commercial – consistently voted Britain’s favorite – features a boy carrying bread up a steep hill lined with thatched cottages, a quaint scene from a Britain bygone.
It was filmed on the pretty cobbled streets of Dorset and launched the career of legendary filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott, who directed it.
The 1973 Hovis commercial was filmed on the pretty cobblestone street of Dorset and launched the career of legendary filmmaker Sir Ridley Scott
Before and after: One of Britain’s most famous views is ‘ruined’ by scaffolding from a nearby home renovation, visitors have claimed
Shaftesbury is one of Dorset’s prettiest towns and the view from the top of Gold Hill is said to be one of the most romantic
The setting was also used in the film version of Thomas Hardy’s 1967 classic Far From The Madding Crowd.
But recent visitors have had to cut out much of the gorgeous scenery because unsightly tarpaulins were used to cover a cottage down the hill that was auctioned for £165,000 in November 2021 – £15,000 over the target price.
It is believed to be renovated, having been purchased by someone living outside the county, but it is unknown if it will be a holiday home or their own private residence.
A still from the famous Hovis advert showing cobbled streets and thatched cottages lining Gold Hill, Dorset
Instagram footage from the top of the road now shows people having to cut off half the view to avoid the construction work getting in the picture.
One visitor said: “We drove around for an hour to visit the famous Hovis Hill.
“We were really hoping to get some good shots for the frame and of course Instagram, but we couldn’t really get one in all its glory with so much scaffolding on display.”
Another added: “Yeah the slide is a bit of a shame, it ruined it a bit.”
Shaftesbury is one of Dorset’s prettiest towns and the view from the top of Gold Hill is said to be one of the most romantic.
The old cottages and cobbled street on the popular hill are framed with the Melbury Downs in the background.
Visitors have said that the slide is “a bit of a shame” and “ruined the view a bit.” Pictured are a father and newborn baby posing in front of the famous view
Just a few meters away is the Benedictine monastery of Shaftesbury Abbey, which was founded in 888 AD.
A planning application submitted to Dorset Council in May shows how the listed 17th-century cottage has been damaged by water and will require extensive structural work.
Planning Officer Emma Ralphs said: “The site is within the highly sensitive Gold Hill area of the historic core within the designated Shaftesbury Conservation Area.
“The road, a former historic route of local and national importance, includes a Grade II listed cobblestone area and the high perimeter wall of the former monastic precinct, which is Grade II listed and planned.
“The majority of the properties on the steep street are Grade I listed, including No. 16 and the adjacent No. 17, as well as all of its northern neighbors.”
Visitors had to crop the unsightly scaffolding from their Instagram pictures
A spokeswoman for Shaftesbury City Council said they had received no complaints – and that the prospect would eventually look even worse if the work were not carried out.
She added, “The problem is that work has to be done, even in a beautiful and picturesque place like this.”
Councilor Piers Brown added: “Although one of the properties at the foot of Gold Hill is currently undergoing refurbishment, fortunately Shaftesbury has much more to offer including some of the finest views in the whole of Britain.
‘Everything within easy walking, cycling and driving distance and one of the liveliest and most unique High Streets.’
And the spokeswoman for Visit Dorset added: “The scaffolding is due to a refurbishment project bringing an old, neglected cottage back to life. However, Gold Hill can still be photographed at an angle that cuts out the scaffolding and reveals the beautiful Melbury Downs in the background. ‘