From Portland Bill to Weymouth Bay and to Poole and Bournemouth, the coastline varies from the exposed to the sheltered. Portland is a large naval base, protected from the sea by a vast breakwater, started in 1850, and taking 23 years to complete
Continuing east past the port of Weymouth, there are charming little coves, like Lulworth Cove, cut in to the Purbeck limestone cliffs. Inland are signs of ancient man - the giant at Cerne Abbas carved in to the hillside (he is believed to have originated in fertility rites), and Maiden Castle, one of the largest earthwork fortifications in Europe, is believed to date from 2000B.C.
This is also Thomas Hardy country. Hardy was born near Dorchester, and many of the towns appear in his novels - Dorchester (Casterbridge), Weymouth (Budmouth), Bere Regis (King's Bere)
Also in this area is Tolpuddle, home of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who in 1834 were transported to Australia for attempting to form a trade union.
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