Part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, Dorset is a county of chalk downs, old manor houses, and a coastline of great variety and extraordinary beauty, part of which is a World Heritage Site.
It is also an area that has been settled for thousands of years, evidence of which can still be found in a number of prehistoric camps, such as Maiden Castle, Poundbury Camp and Maumbury Rings.
Dorset was the birthplace of the English novelist Thomas Hardy, and is the thinly disguised setting for a number of his novels.
With thanks to the following for the images of Dorset:
Athelhampton House © Mike Searle
Durdle Door © W Lloyd MacKenzie
Gold Hill, Shaftesbury
Corfe Castle © Peter Trimming