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Bradshaw’s Guide

A descriptive guide to Dorsetshire

Which is bounded on the north by Wiltshire, on the east by Hampshire, on the west by Devon and part of Somerset, and on the south by the British Channel. Its form is everywhere irregular; its long northern side has a considerable angular projection in the middle; the sea shore on the south runs out into numerous points and headlands, till it stretches to the Isle of Portland; thence westward the coast not so deeply indented, but inclines obliquely towards Devonshire.

Great numbers of sheep and oxen are fed in the vale of Blackmore; which is distinguished by its rich pasture. Many of the other vales on the south western side are likewise uncommonly luxuriant. The inhabitants of Dorsetshire have paid great attention to the rearing of sheep, and it has been estimated this county alone produces more than 800,000 of these animals.

Doresetshire, from the mildness of its climate and the beauty of its situation has been termed the garden of England. The soils vary in different parts. About Bridgeport the lower lands are mostly deep rich loams; on the higher hills, throughout the western district, the soil is sandy loam, intermixed with a common kind of flint. There are nearly forty rivers in this county, the principle of which are the Stour and Frome.

The chalk hills, which run through every county from the south-east part of the kingdom this far, terminates at the further extremity of this; but on the coast chalk cliffs extend beyond it into Devonshire. Dorsetshire is distinguished for its wollen manufactures, and its fine ale and beer. The products are corn, wool, hemp, fire-stone, and some marble; and there is plenty of poultry of all sorts. The principle minerals are two kinds of freestone. Potters’ clay is very abundant.

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Featured places

  • Dorsetshire : Dorchester

    A small parliamentary borough, and the capital of Dorsetshire, in a pretty part of the South Downs, at the termination of the South Western railway, 141 miles from London.

  • Dorsetshire : Weymouth

    Nothing can be more striking and picturesque than the situation of this delightful watering-place.