West Dorset Welcome to WEST DORSET

This is true Hardy country. The landscape of West Dorset is what everyone imagines Hardy’s Wessex to be. Green and hilly with twisted deserted lanes and villages, with evocative names such as ‘Emminster’, ‘Casterbridge’ and ‘Budmouth’.

A visit to this part of Dorset takes you to many of these towns and villages, where you will find settings little changed from the days of Hardy’s great novels. Inland, much of the county remains rural with market towns and picture- postcard villages never far away from many interesting country houses, gardens and visitor attractions.

Bridport’s rope making heritage, Dorchester’s fascinating museum and Roman amphitheatre, Sherborne’s two castles or Shaftesbury’s famous Gold Hill and Abbey are but a few of the beautiful and fascinating places, in an area that has a rich and diverse history.


The coastline here is quite simply stunning, westward from Weymouth Bay around the Isle of Portland, along the length of Chesil Beach and ending in Lyme Regis. It is no wonder that it makes up part of England’s ‘Jurassic’ coast and was awarded ‘World Heritage Site’ status, which ranks it alongside the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef as one of the natural wonders of the world.

Lyme Regis is probably one of the best known Dorset sea towns with a famous past, although most people these days may well know it for a less illustrious reason; the film ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ was filmed here in the



early 1980s. Lyme should be visited for other reasons, the glorious walking, the lovely harbour side, and the ever-present fossil evidence of our past.

Little has changed in much of this area, despite the arrival of the internal combustion engine, and it is still possible to find villages which are almost time capsules. It is also countryside, which has given inspiration to generations of writers and craftspeople. Today, you will find

craft studios and galleries throughout this part of Dorset. It is so much more rewarding to take home an item of beauty actually made in the area you have visited. So do seek out the little studios and galleries – visit the craft fairs and talk to the people who live and work in this lovely spot.

We are sure you will enjoy your visit to West Dorset.

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