Facts about Dorset
The first human visitors to Dorset were Mesolithic hunters, from around 8000 BC. The first permanent Neolithic settlers appeared around 3000 BC and were responsible for the creation of the Dorset Cursus, a 10.5-kilometre monument for ritual or ceremonial purposes. From 2800 BC onwards Bronze Age farmers cleared Dorset’s woodlands for agricultural use and Dorset’s high chalk hills provided a location for numerous round barrows.
After the Norman Conquest in 1066, feudal rule was established in Dorset. And the bulk of the land was divided between the Crown and ecclesiastical institutions. The Normans consolidated their control over the area by constructing castles at Corfe, Wareham and Dorchester in the early part of the 12th century. Over the next 200 years, Dorset’s population grew substantially and additional land was enclosed for farming to provide the extra food required.
Dorset is a county in South West England on the English Channel coast. The ceremonial county comprises the unitary authority areas of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and Dorset. Covering an area of 2,653 square kilometres, Dorset borders Devon to the west, Somerset to the north-west, Wiltshire to the north-east, and Hampshire to the east. The county town is Dorchester which is in the south.
Around half of the population lives in the South East Dorset conurbation, while the rest of the county is largely rural with a low population density. The county has a long history of human settlement stretching back to the Neolithic era. The Romans conquered Dorset’s indigenous Celtic tribe, and during the Early Middle Ages, the Saxons settled the area and made Dorset a shire in the 7th century.