West Dorset’s Towns
With 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.
Bridport 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 and stop for a bite to eat. Take a look at the medieval
Chantry House or sample the local brew or a tour of Palmers
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.Charmouth
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 and fossil hunting
tours. Check dates and times with the Centre – Tel: 01297 560772
or www.charmouth.org Lyme Regis
Lyme 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 Festival.
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!