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davidx Dorchester - A travel report by David
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Dorchester,  United Kingdom - flag United Kingdom
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davidx's travel reports

South Dorset – by a Devonian!

  16 votes
Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A Devonian [by birth] writing about Dorset? Well I never. However there’s a proverb about giving even the Devil his due. Anyway they've got things worth a word or two!


Portland
Portland
I went to the Dorset Coast with my youngest son for a few days in the mid 80s. Pam and I went for a few nights in the early 90s. So how does it compare with Devon? The simple answer is that they excel in different features and that will do here. Dorset is wonderful for fossils – how it can remain so good with so many amateurs hacking around, I don’t know – but it does. Then there is Portland Bill – see photo – and the area near it where Portland stone is quarried. See the informative website at http://www.jurassicc-oast.co m/index.jsp?articlei-d=26719 [no gap]. Scenery like that at Durdle Door is confined to that part but is certainly spectacular. I’m sorry that I’ve lost most of my photos – including Lyme Regis, a lighter one of Cerne Abbas and one of its giant. That takes us inland and in Dorset it’s the Iron Age which predominates with massive earthworks such as Maiden castle, near Dorchester. Dorchester itself is, of course, a Roman name and it was a Roman foundation. Dorchester is also the ‘Casterbridge’ of Thomas Hardy’s novels. It’s a fine old city with an outstanding museum [County] and others worth seeing. http://www.visit-dor chester.co.uk/ is very good – most of its sub-sites linking to some excellent pictures. The Iron Age remains of Maumbury Rings are actually in Dorchester but don’t really compare with nearby Maiden castle. Many of the websites seem overspecialised in their photos of this superb site and I think http://www.historic uk.co m/DestinationsUK/M aidenCastle.htm strikes a good balance. For all its magnificence as a construction, Maiden Castle failed in its essential purpose of keeping the Romans out; in fact it fell at their first attack. http://www.megali thic.co.uk/search.ph-p?qu ery=&country=1&cou nty=17&type=stories is excellent on earthworks in Dorset generally. If you want to get seriously into fossils, try http://easyweb.easyn-e t.co.uk/~gcaselton/f-o ssil/fossil.html

Favourite spots:
Cerne Abbas
Cerne Abbas
Cerne Abbas is sometimes called the quintessential English village. Strongly as I object, English villages differing much by region – thank Heaven – it’s certainly a really good one. It was a small town in the early middle ages with an abbey started in the tenth century during the dissolution of the monasteries in the 15th. Economically it would seem to have regressed somewhat and thus is the village we see now, with narrow streets, church and traditional pub. However, the village is best known for the Giant, existing from the 2nd century BC [at least]. He [no woman ever looked like that, is formed from the underlying white stone, the vegetation being kept clear. He is wielding a huge club but it’s for a very obvious part of his anatomy that he’s most famous – and no prize for guessing where childless couples are meant to copulate to cure their problem! www.catnip.co.uk/cer ne/cerne.html

What's really great:
Chesil Beach
Chesil Beach
http://www.geoffkirb-y.co.uk/Portland/ will give you a terrific site for the Portland area. The stone quarried here has been used in famous buildings in many countries, St. Paul’s Cathedral in London being but one. What is often called Portland Island is now linked by a road bridge to the mainland and by the remarkable geological feature of Chesil Beach or Bay. This cosists of a narrow strip of land about 18 miles long through the sea off the coast between Portland and near Bridport. It is formed of pebbles, which diminish in size as you go from the Portland end. This is shown clearly on www.swcp.org.uk/Tou r/ChesilBeach.html, whereas one of my photos gives a good general view.

Sights:
Durdle Door
Durdle Door
Lyme Regis was the scene of the film of The French Lieutenant’s Woman and hence many people feel familiar with the Cobb [photo
www.pbase.com/ma ttis/image/31826899]
The Swannery at Abbotsbury is another well known attraction as is the cliff scenery around Durdle Door. Further east in Dorset, Corfe Castle povides a major site. The Badger Brewery at Blandford St Mary has visits as does Portland Castle.

Hangouts:
Dorchester travelogue picture
I have mentioned the pub in Cerne Abbas which is the Royal Oak. In general Dorset is a fine county for beer drinkers, not only because of some good local breweries but because of the presence of nine pin bowling or skittles. Try to go to a pub both on match nights to watch and on a non-match night to play.
www.tradgames.org.uk/games/Skittles.htm will give you a good idea of the game generally but you may be surprised to know that the Weymouth and Portland League alone has nine divisions and 130 teams!


Other recommendations:
From Poole Brittany Ferries shortest crossing goes to Cherbourg on either normal or express boats.

Published on Wednesday February 23th, 2005


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Thu, Mar 03 2005 - 11:17 AM rating by mistybleu

Another great report.

Misty

Fri, Feb 25 2005 - 08:51 PM rating by mtlorensen

Curiosity got the best of me...the Cerne Giant is one of the oddest things I've seen in a while! Great reading about your country, David. :)

Thu, Feb 24 2005 - 06:31 PM rating by magsalex

Remember the fossils in Lyme Regis and the scene from The French Lieutenant's Woman!!

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