River Piddle

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.[1] 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'.[1] 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',[1] (although Puddletown was still called Piddletown into the 1950s), but see for instance the John Speed map of the county from 1610[2] which has the name 'Puddletown'.

River Piddle
River Trent
The River Piddle at Piddlehinton
Location within Dorset
Towns and villagesWareham, Tolpuddle, Puddletown, Piddletrenthide
Physical characteristics
SourceAlton Pancras
Poole Harbour, Purbeck, Dorset
50.6941°N 2.0788°W / 50.6941; -2.0788
  locationPoole Harbour
Basin features
  leftBere Stream, Devil's Brook

The Piddle flows south and then south-easterly more or less parallel with its bigger neighbour, the River Frome, to Wareham, where they both enter Poole Harbour via Wareham Channel.

See also


  1. Roland Gant (1980). Dorset Villages. Robert Hale Ltd. p. 188. ISBN 0 7091 8135 3.
  2. "John Speed's Map of Dorsetshire".

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