Sherbourne Castle which has one of the most graceful fan-vaulted roofs in
Chesil Beach, a ten mile stretch of shingle, in places 35 feet high and 150 yards wide
which reaches Portland Bill, a stone peninsula from where Sir Christopher Wren gained the
Portland Stone used to build St. Paul's Cathedral.
Isle of Purbeck, a peninsula where china
clay and Purbeck `marble´ are quarried, and which includes Corfe Castle and the holiday
resort of Swanage. The castle at Corfe is situated on a high ridge,
separated from the village by a ravine over which a bridge has been built. It was built in
the 11th century on the site of a Saxon stronghold where King Edward the Martyr was
murdered in 978.
To the East of the
Isle of Purbeck at the Foreland is the Devil's Stacks, chalk pillars
which stand out into Poole Bay. Old Harry is a synonym for 'the Devil' and the two main
rocks are known as Old Harry and the slimmer, Old Harry's Wife. The chalk cliffs were
originally joined to the better known 'Needles' on the Isle of Wight and both are being
gradually eroded by the waves.
Portland, Limestone peninsula South of Weymouth, joined to the mainland by the
bank of shingle, Chesil Bank. The naval base, founded in 1845, closed in 1995. Portland
stone, used for St Paul's Cathedral, London, is still quarried here. Portland Harbour is
Europe's largest man-made harbour. Portland Castle was built by Henry VIII in 1539-40. The
principal villages on the peninsula are Easton and Fortuneswell. Portland Harbour is
enclosed by Portland Breakwater, built from Portland stone by convicts in 1849-72. At the
southernmost tip of the peninsula, known as Portland Bill, is a lighthouse (1906). With a
height of 35 m / 115 ft, the lighthouse was designed to send out a 30-km / 18-miles beam
of light. It is now a bird-watching station.
Chesil Bank or Chesil Beach
`pebble-bank´ Shingle bank extending along the coast of Dorset, England, from Bridport in the west to
the Isle of Portland in the east. Chesil Bank connects Portland with the mainland and
encloses a tidal lagoon known as the Fleet. At the Portland end the bank is about 13 m/ 43
ft above high water mark, and 183 m/600 ft broad. The pebbles gradually decrease in size
from east to west; they are 2.5- 7.5 cm/1-3 in in diameter at Portland and reach the size
of peas at Bridport. At the western end of the Fleet is the Abbotsbury swannery, a wetland
reserve for a breeding herd of mute swans. The bank was formed 10,000 years ago at the end
of the last glacial period, when the rise in sea level and large waves from the Southwest
pushed vast quantities of rock debris and sediments inshore. The lateral gradation of
Chesil Bank's pebbles is caused by downdrift attrition (the grinding of pebbles and rocks
together) and longshore drift (the zig-zag movement of pebbles along the beach, carried by
waves ascending the bank at an angle and then returning in a straight descent). Strong
waves from the Southwest throw all material, large and small, to the east, but there is a
counter- current moving along the coast working the increasingly smaller material from
east to west.
Cranborne Chase; Maiden Castle (prehistoric earthwork); Tank Museum at Royal Armoured
Corps Centre, Bovington, where the cottage of the soldier and writer T E Lawrence is a
museum; Wimborne Minster; abbey church of Sherborne
a very popular yachting centre due mainly to it's superb natural harbour. The Town House
museum has the largest Bronze Age canoe found in Britain and the HQ of the RNLI is found in the Old Town. Other
attractions in Poole are: Holes Bay; Pergins Island; Maritime Museum; Compton Acres themed
gardens (including water, rock, heather, Japanese, Roman, Italian); Canford Heath, tumuli
field; Sandbanks spit ferry from Poole to Brownsea Island and the Channel Islands
Part of 11th century Abbey still remains. Famous swannery and sub-tropical gardens.
The most handsome and uniform Georgian red-brick and stone town centre by the Bastard
Once famous for its marine rope-making, now an attractive old town. The wide pavements are
said to have been for twisting the lengths of hemp.
Historic town where Edmund Ironside defeated Canute's army in 1016. Royal manor of
Plantagenet kings and hunting lodge King John's Palace; the moat still survives.
Scarily steep and winding road
drops you into this predominantly late-Georgian seaside town. Busy in summer, it is
advisable to park at the top of the hill and walk down into the town. The walk is well
worth it though, the town is delightful and the harbour area, known as 'the Cobb' is picturesque. It was used as the
backdrop to the film 'The French Lieutenants Woman'
Market town of Saxon
origin, 30 km/19 miles southwest of Salisbury. King Alfred is said to have founded an
abbey on the site in 880 (consecrated in 888); King Canute died at Shaftesbury in 1035.
There is a museum displaying many buttons for which the town was once famous. One of
Shaftesbury's most famous landmarks is Gold Hill,
a cobbled very picturesque street, made famous in a 'Hovis' bread advert. Gold Hill Wall
is part of the old town wall, built in Saxon times and later buttressed. The earliest part
of St Peter's church dates from the 14th century (and an even older building is
underneath); other parts date largely from the 15th century. Shaftesbury is mentioned as a
borough in the Domesday Book of 1086, being then more important than Exeter or Dorchester.
The town received its first charter in 1252, and two others followed (in 1604 and 1664).
Between Lyme Regis
and Bridport, the tiny former smuggling village of Seatown overlooks Lyme Bay and sits in
the shadow of Golden Cap which rises 191 metres out from the sea. Named Golden Cap due to
the expanse of yellow gorse and golden sandstone which tops the highest cliff in Southern
England. The Cap is part of 2,000 acres of National Trust land.
A gem of a Dorset town historically and architecturally, with two castles and an abbey
with a superb fan-vaulted roof. Cheap Street (cheap means market) has a row of Tudor
Medieval fishing village along spectacular cliff-lined coast that became a fashionable
seaside resort with the coming of the railway.
Port with a good-looking seafron with late-Georgian terraces along the Esplanade.
Friendly and intimate small town with unusual twin-towered church, many old inns and
hotels and excellent local museum.