The best of Dorset in words and pictures

South Dorset

David Bailey’s latest photographic essay take shim to the strip of Dorset between Wool and Weymouth

Woolbridge Manor at Wool dates from the 17th century. It was famously used by Thomas Hardy as Wellbridge, where Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Angel Clare spent the night after their wedding.

One of Laurence Whistler’s wonderful engraved glass windows for the church of St Nicholas at Moreton. This one is a memorial to a pilot shot down over France in 1940 and shows a crashed Spitfire, Salisbury Cathedral, the English Channel and the French coast. The vapour trails and the shafts of sunlight make the chi-rho, the religious symbol which is the first two letters (in Greek) of Christos.

An MG owner’s rally at Athelhampton. The house was originally built in 1493 and was for many years the seat of the Martyn family. It has been added to and altered over the centuries, not least after a potentially disastrous fire in the 1990s. The gardens are famous for their massive triangular topiary.

Woodsford Castle was built in the early 14th century as a fortified manor house. Its roof is reputed to be the largest area of thatch in Dorset. Today it is a holiday home owned by the Landmark Trust.

Harvest on Winfrith Hill, above East Chaldon. This is a landscape with strong literary associations: the prolific Powys brothers, T F and Llewelyn, lived at East Chaldon, as did Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland.

Moigns Down above Holworth. From here the land falls steadily away to the south, to reach the sea at the imposing cliffs around White Nothe and the gentler landscape of Ringstead Bay.

The White Horse at Osmington commemorates George III’s fondness for Weymouth. He visited the resort fourteen times between 1789 and 1805, usually staying six weeks at the height of the summer. The White Horse was cut in 1815 and, rather uncommercially, shows the King riding away from the resort.

Upwey has resisted absorption by Weymouth and retains the atmosphere of a village. It is a place of water and springs, one of which has been exploited as the Wishing Well since tourists started following George III to the Weymouth area.
Upwey has resisted absorption by Weymouth and retains the atmosphere of a village. It is a place of water and springs, one of which has been exploited as the Wishing Well since tourists started following George III to the Weymouth area.

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