About this book
This new third edition of Bradt’s popular guide to Dorset – part of its distinctive series of ‘Slow Travel’ guides to local UK regions – has been thoroughly updated to reflect all the most recent changes to the region. Where – and what – to eat, where and when to go and what to see are all covered, providing an essential guide to one of Britain’s most rural counties. The author, a Dorset girl born and bred, says: ‘Many of Dorset’s attractions are well-hidden and known only to locals, who like to keep the county’s treasures to themselves. This guide takes you to those secret places and introduces you to some delightful Dorset locals past and present. Practical information covers accommodation, eating and drinking, and travelling in this unspoilt region.’
Dorset is quintessential rural England: rolling hills, thatched houses, narrow, winding lanes and stunning stately homes and gardens, all of which make it perfect for slowing down and discovering what really makes the region tick. The enchanting Dorset landscapes described in Thomas Hardy’s 19th-century novels are largely unchanged and are likely to remain so as the county has the highest proportion of conservation areas in England. A sense of history is conveyed by innumerable sites of archaeological interest, including Britain’s largest Iron Age hillfort, Maiden Castle, and the county is trimmed by the spectacular Jurassic Coast, England’s first natural World Heritage Site, whose cliffs are constantly revealing their prehistoric, fossilised secrets. For walkers, the Dorset section of the South West Coast Path, which includes part of the Jurassic Coast, offers some of the most spectacular seaside walks in England. This guide provides walking routes with maps to help you explore some of the finest sections of the coastal path, as well as other walks around the county.
Whatever your interest, be it local food, brewery tours, peaceful waterways, horse-riding, beach walks or simply escaping to an unspoiled corner, Bradt’s Dorset is the ideal companion.
About the author
Alexandra Richards was born in the tiny village of Stour Provost in picturesque north Dorset, where she lived until her mid-20s. Career and travel writing then took her elsewhere, but she has always kept a base in Dorset, never wanting to sever ties with the county, and spending time away has given her a new appreciation for – and (visitor’s) perspective on – the area. Dorset’s hold on Alex has only grown stronger with time and she is now returning to live there full time. Alex has explored the Dorset countryside in a variety of ways, on horseback, on foot, by bicycle and by 4×4. She has a particular interest in natural history and conservation, and enjoys following the work of the Dorset Wildlife Trust. Having grown up in a farming community, she also has a real appreciation for Dorset’s local produce, which is some of the finest in the country. Alex’s local knowledge – of people, places, traditions and folklore – makes this a truly personal guide and introduces the reader to some Dorset secrets that only a local would know.
Going Slow in Dorset
Dorset, Some practical matters, Making the most of Slow Dorset
1 North Dorset – the Blackmore Vale, Cranborne Chase & Sherborne
Getting there & around, The Blackmore Vale, Cranborne Chase, Sherborne & around
2 Dorchester & the Piddle & Frome valleys
Getting there & around, Dorchester & around, North from Dorchester towards the Blackmore Vale, The Piddle Valley & Bere Regis, The Frome Valley, Bulbarrow Hill, Milton Abbas & surrounds
3 The Marshwood Vale & West Dorset
Getting there & around, Lyme Regis to Bridport & West Bay, East of Bridport via the Bride Valley to Abbotsbury, From the Somerset border to the Marshwood Vale, Eastwards from Beaminster
4 Weymouth & the Southern Coast
Getting there & around, West of Weymouth, including Chesil Beach, The Isle of Portland, East of Weymouth
5 Isle of Purbeck
Getting there & around, Wareham to Swanage & north of the A351, Beyond Swanage to Lulworth Cove
6 Poole, Bournemouth & the east
Getting there & around, Poole & surrounds, Bournemouth & Christchurch, Wimborne Minster & surrounds
'Eye-opening and wonderful' The Sunday Times Magazine
Recommended reading by Wanderlust Magazine
'Perhaps the greatest compliment we can pay this beautifully written and carefully researched book is to say that it should be on every Dorset-lovers’ bookshelves – or in the passenger’s seat pocket of every Dorset driver’s car. It is a treasury of fascinating facts, delicious food and drink, extraordinary events and a celebration of the history, landscape and people of this beautiful county.' The Fine Times Recorder
'It is impossible to praise this book too highly.' Dorset Wildlife Trust