Dorset’s Towns and Villages
it’s bright and bustling shopping precinct, elegant 18th Century
houses, broadwalks and vibrant cultural life, the County town has much
to offer. Take time to uncover Dorchester’s history with a visit
to the Roman Town House, Maumbury Rings or the Old Crown Court and Cells
where the Tolpuddle Martyrs were tried. There are numerous places to
eat out and the Wednesday market is well worth visiting.
is a colourful market town, which dates from the 9th /10th Century and
stands where the rivers Brit and Asker meet. It has a fascinating history
and was once renowned as the centre of the country’s rope and
net making industry. A Georgian Town Hall and the broad streets dominate
the town, where the weekly Wednesday and Saturday markets, as well as
the Farmers’ market (2nd Saturday in the month), are held. This
Farmers’ market featured in the Channel Four’s ‘Return
To River Cottage’ series featuring TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall,
which was filmed around the Bridport area.
Bridport is a welcoming town and an ideal place to browse, shop ad stop
for a bite to eat. Take a look at the medieval Chantry House or sample
the local brew or a tour of Palmers Brewery.
Once known as Bridport Harbour, the resort village of West Bay has a
busy waterfront which buzzes on a summer’s day with its bright
kiosks, fishing and pleasure boats. It is an ideal place to take a walk
and enjoy a pub lunch or a fresh seafood supper whilst admiring the
views – to the West is Lyme Bay and the fossil rich cliffs known
as the ‘Jurassic Coast’ and Golden Cap. To the East is the
East Cliff and the beginning of the shingle curve of the Chesil Bank.
If you’ve see an episode of the television series ‘Harbour
Lights’ starring Nick Berry, the area may seem very familiar to
you as filming took place around West Bay and its harbour.
The stretch of coast between Charmouth and Lyme Regis forms the ‘Jurassic
Coast’ where fossils dating back 185 million years can be found.
Visit the Chamouth Heritage Coast Centre where you can find out how
to hunt for and identify fossils and discover the Mary Anning story.
There is a safe sandy beach, ideal for rock pooling at low tide and
several places to eat.
Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre, Lower Sea Lane, Charmouth – offering
a wide range of walks, rambles, rock pooling and fossil hunting tours.
Check dates and times with the Centre – Tel: 01297 560772 or www.charmouth.org
Regis is a narrow tangle of streets that tumble down to its 13th Century
Cobb harbour, where a cloaked Meryl Streep famously stood in the film
‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ adapted from the novel
by local author, John Fowles. It is an ancient town with a varied history
stretching back to the 8th century. It was from here that ships sailed
to meet the Spanish Armada and the Duke of Monmouth landed in 1685.
Today Lyme Regis offers fun for all the family with its sheltered beaches,
bustling harbour, shops, galleries and many attractions. Why not enjoy
the view of Golden Cap, the highest point on the South coast at 626
feet. It gets its name from the top layers of golden sandstone, which
glow, in the sunshine.
Fossil hunting with Dr Colin Dawes PhD every Sunday all year round,
and every Wednesday and Friday from April to the end of September. Daily
during the school half-term holidays. Meet 1.00 pm at the Old Forge
Fossil Shop. Duration – 2 hours. If you do not find a fossil you
will be given one!
Jazz Festival – why not enjoy a break during the Lyme Regis Jazz
Bonfire Night Celebrations on the Cobb – torch light procession
and firework display from the Cobb in early November. Check www.lymeregistourism.co.uk
for further details of these two events, and more!