LOCALS and tourists alike may think they know Dorset, but in his new book author and publisher Jon Woolcott proves there’s plenty more to learn about it.
In Real Dorset, Woolcott criss-crosses the county, making connections and uncovering the hidden and forgotten, to reveal what lies beneath the tourist-friendly façade.
Dorset is famous for its spectacular coastlines, historic towns, eco-foodie reputation, for Hardy and Fowles.
Yet, there’s much more to this popular county – subversion, rebellion and revolt, wealth and poverty, ghost stories, rich folklore, film and music.
Woolcott travels the whole county in this discursive, humorous, idiosyncratic and personal exploration.
A huge and lost Neolithic earthwork contrasts with Victorian pleasure gardens and nightlife in Bournemouth.
The legacy of the black GIs, the Cerne Abbas Giant, the model village of Milton Abbas, vie for attention with the importance of Dorset for writers and artists including William Barnes, T E Lawrence and Sylvia Townsend Warner, John Piper and Elisabeth Frink.
Tombstoning at Durdle Door, exploring the beguiling strangeness of Portland, climbing the famous Gold Hill, delving into holloways – Real Dorset covers all aspects of life past and present.
Sure to delight tourists, locals and armchair travellers alike, Real Dorset is an alternative guide to this richly historical and much-visited edge of south-west England.
Jon Woolcott has lived in Dorset for 14 years and grew up nearby in southern Wiltshire and among other roles was communications officer for Cranborne Chase AONB.
Real Dorset is the latest addition to the Seren Real Series, a set of illustrated offbeat guides to places across the UK.