Real Dorset

Jon Woolcott
Publication Date: 
Monday, April 17, 2023
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Pre-order now – Publishing 17th April 2023



Real Dorset is a discursive, humorous, idiosyncratic and personal look at Dorset. The county is famous for spectacular coastlines, historic towns, its eco-foodie reputation, for Hardy and Fowles. Yet there’s much more behind the tourist-friendly façade – subversion, rebellion and revolt, wealth and poverty, ghost stories, rich folklore, film and music.

Criss-crossing the county, Woolcott makes connections, uncovers the hidden and the forgotten. 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 in this richly historical and much-visited edge of south west England. Locals and tourists alike may think they know Dorset: Jon Woolcott’s book proves that there is plenty more to learn about it.

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