Dorchester

A Wander Around West Dorset

Jane Greening, Countryside and Coastal owner at New House Farm (with the beautiful Mangerton Fishing Lake) would like to share some ideas that she regularly gives visitors when they come to stay.

Firstly, DORCHESTER. The County Town of Dorset, and birth place of Thomas Hardy – and we are celebrating his birthday this month. There is a lot to see and do here. It is a Roman town, and there are delightful Walks – which follow the old Roman walls. These are traffic free and tree lined. Also, behind County Hall there are the remains of a Roman town house, showing underfloor hot-air ducts, mosaics and a bathroom – they were so sophisticated! To the south of the town there is Maumbury Rings, a Neolithic henge monument, which was used by the Romans as an amphitheatre. Sometimes plays are hosted there today. Dorchester also witnessed the “Bloody Assize”, following the Duke of Monmouth’s Rebellion and the Battle of Sedgemoor. 340 prisoners were tried for treasonable sedition, 74 were hanged, drawn and quartered. 175 had their death sentences commuted to transportation and the rest were imprisoned or released. Enough of history – today the high street is flanked by grey buildings – Portland Stone. There are shops in South Street and the new Poundbury Village – Prince Charles’ dream. All in all – worth a visit.

WeymouthSecondly, WEYMOUTH. The beach is very attractive – and very safe, including lovely sand sculptures. Weymouth is a typical seaside town, with Georgian-fronted houses and hotels along the Esplanade. The old harbour is full of fishing boats, yachts and sometimes a tall ship. There are 2 locations for bird watchers – Lodmoor and Radipole Lake. There is also the Sealife Centre – perfect for a wet day!

Sherborne AbbeyFinally, SHERBORNE Not only a lovely abbey – but 2 castles! Sherborne’s castles comprise one built in the 12th century and then Sir Walter Raliegh’s edition in the late 1500s. The abbey is very beautiful with the fan vaulting of the nave and choir. There are 2 reredos, the one in the Lady Chapel was designed by Laurence Whistler and fashioned in glass.