The River Piddle or Trent or North River is a small rural Dorset river which rises next to Alton Pancras church. Alton Pancras was originally named Awultune, a Saxon name meaning the village at the source of a river. The river's name has Germanic origins and has had various spellings over the years. In AD 966 it was called the 'Pidelen', and on the church tower at Piddletrenthide—the first village to which it gives its name—it is spelled 'Pydel'. Several villages which the river passes through are named after it: as well as Piddletrenthide there are Piddlehinton, Puddletown, Tolpuddle, Affpuddle, Briantspuddle and Turnerspuddle. Local legend tells that the Victorians changed the spelling to 'Puddle', due to 'piddle' being an alternative word for 'piss', (although Puddletown was still called Piddletown into the 1950s), but see for instance the John Speed map of the county from 1610 which has the name 'Puddletown'.
The River Piddle at Piddlehinton
Location within Dorset
|Towns and villages||Wareham, Tolpuddle, Puddletown, Piddletrenthide|
|Poole Harbour, Purbeck, Dorset|
|⁃ location||Poole Harbour|
|⁃ left||Bere Stream, Devil's Brook|