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Dorset (including Bournemouth, Christchurch, East Dorset, North Dorset. Poole, Purbeck, West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland) is in the South West of England. It has a population of around 744,000 and covers approximately 265,000 hectares. Here is a list of nearby or neighbouring counties: Devon, Hampshire, Somerset, Wiltshire.

County flag of DorsetThere is archaeological evidence of human settlements in Dorset dating back to Neolithic times. Much of the county is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and most of its coastline is a World Heritage Site, which includes the famous Jurassic Coast, that continues into neighbouring Devon. Never heavily industrialised, agriculture is declining in the county and tourism has grown in importance. With no cities and mostly consisting of villages and small towns, the largest populations are found in coastal resorts such as Weymouth and Bournemouth, the port of Poole and towns such as Christchurch and the county town of Dorchester. There are a series of Iron Age hill forts across the county, including Maiden Castle which is among the largest in Europe and The Cerne Abbas Giant is the largest hill figure in Britain. The historic Town Mill in Lyme Regis features a restored Victorian water mill and the art galleries host exhibitions of work by artists and craft makers from across the region. Performing arts venues in Dorset include The Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne, The Regent Centre in Christchurch, the Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth and the Lighthouse in Poole.

The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum located on the sea front in Bournemouth is housed within a Victorian mansion, which was once home to Sir Merton and Lady Annie Russell-Cotes. The furnishings and decorations inspired by their travels include Japanese stained glass, embossed wallpaper and ceilings decorated with mythical figures. On display are artefact that they collected, such as ceramics, sculptures and paintings, including a large collection of British art. Sherborne Castle dates back to the late 16th century and was built for Sir Walter Raleigh. Today visitors to the Tudor mansion can appreciate the finely decorated and furnished interiors, fine art and porcelain. Outside there are picturesque gardens and parkland, which have served as a venue for a wide range of events including concerts, craft fairs and firework displays. Kingston Lacy is a country house built in the style of an Italian palace, set among grounds which include beautiful gardens and woodlands. The property is owned by the National Trust and inside there is finely carved plaster, marble and woodwork, antique furniture, sculptures and paintings by artists such as Van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian and Diego Velazquez. Other attractions in Dorset include Sherborne Abbey, Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorchester, the ruins of Corfe Castle and Dorset County Museum in Dorchester.

William Henry Fox Talbot

(Born 1800 in Melbury Abbas in Dorset), Photography

Talbot was an inventor who developed an early photographic process called calotype.