This illustrated history portrays one of England's finest counties. It provides a nostalgic look at Dorset's past and highlights the special character of some of its most important historic sites. The photographs are taken from the Historic England Archive, a unique collection of over 12 million photographs, drawings, plans and documents covering England's archaeology, architecture, social and local history. Pictures date from the earliest days of photography to the present and cover subjects from Bronze Age burials and medieval churches to cinemas and seaside resorts. Dorset is justly renowned as one of the most beautiful counties in England, with a varied landscape ranging from its Jurassic Coast to chalk and limestone hills. The landscape of Dorset is still largely rural but it has been shaped by its inhabitants for thousands of years, from the Iron Age Maiden Castle to the large towns of Bournemouth and Poole in the south-east of the county. Visitors are drawn to famous natural landmarks on the coast such as Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door and further west Chesil Beach and the Isle of Portland, as well as the seaside towns of Lyme Regis, Swanage and Weymouth. Dorchester is the county town of Dorset. Other historic towns such as Bridport, known in the past for rope making, Shaftesbury, Blandford Forum, Sherborne and Wareham have retained their historic fabric but are thriving communities today.