Real Dorset is a personal, detailed, discursive, humorous and idiosyncratic look at Dorset. The county is famous for its spectacular coastline, for its historic towns, for its eco-foodie reputation, for Hardy and Fowles. But there’s much more behind the tourist-friendly faÃ§ade – subversion, rebellion and revolt, wealth and poverty, ghost stories and rich folklore. Dorset is home to the largest, but now lost, Neolithic earthwork in Britain.
Woolcott criss-crosses the county, making connections, uncovering the hidden and the forgotten. Stone circles and ancient hillforts contrast with Victorian pleasure gardens and nightlife in Bournemouth. Trade unionism originating from Tolpuddle, the model village of Milton Abbas, vie for the reader’s attention with the importance of Dorset for writers like William Barnes, TE Lawrence, Hardy, Fowles and Sylvia Townsend Warner and artists John Piper, Rena Gardiner and Elisabeth Frink. Tombstoning at Lulworth, exploring Chesil Beach and the Fleet, boat trips along the coast, the modern pagan celebration of the Filly-Loo: Real Dorset covers all aspects of life past and present in this richly historical and much-visited edge of south west England.