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|West Dorset District|
West Dorset shown within Dorset
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||South West England|
|Incorporated||1 April 1974|
|• Type||Non-metropolitan district council|
|• Body||West Dorset District Council|
|• Leadership||Leader & Cabinet (Conservative)|
|• MPs||Oliver Letwin|
|• Total||417.6 sq mi (1,081.5 km2)|
|Area rank||24th (of 326)|
|Population (mid-2014 est.)|
|• Rank||233rd (of 326)|
|• Density||240/sq mi (93/km2)|
|• Ethnicity||98.7% White|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC0)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
|ONS code||19UH (ONS)
|OS grid reference|
West Dorset is a local government district and parliamentary constituency in Dorset, England. Its council is based in Dorchester. The district was formed on 1 April 1974, under the Local Government Act 1972, and was a merger of the boroughs of Bridport, Dorchester and Lyme Regis, along with Sherborne urban district, and the rural districts of Beaminster, Bridport, Dorchester and Sherborne. In 2006 the district was named 10th best place to live in the UK.
In the Census 2001 West Dorset registered a population of 92,350, estimated to be 94,000 as of 2004[update]. The population structure reflects the rural nature of the district. 52% of the population are female. The area is a popular retirement area which also exports young people due the low choice of career options. This is reflected in the age structure, with 12.3% of the population over 75, compared to 7.5% in England; 51.7% are between 15 and 59, compared to 59.1% in England. 34.4% of dwellings are pensioner households, compared to 23.8% in England.
The district is an example of the low ethnic minority populations in rural areas, with 96.7% white British ethnicity, compared to 87.0% in England.
The district has a high level of car ownership, at 83.1% of households compared to 73.2% in England.
West Dorset is a county constituency, currently represented in the British House of Commons by the Conservative front-bencher Oliver Letwin. Elections in this constituency are usually a two-party contest between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. It is almost identical in area with the West Dorset district, but a very small part of West Dorset District lies within the South Dorset county constituency, currently represented in the British House of Commons by the Conservative Party member Richard Drax.
The main settlements in West Dorset are Dorchester, Sherborne and Bridport. Dorchester is in the south of the district and is the county town of Dorset. It has been an important settlement since Roman times. Sherborne is in the north of the district and is an important market town which was, for a time, the capital of Wessex. Bridport is in the west of the district and is popular with tourists visiting the Jurassic Coast, as is the smaller coastal town of Lyme Regis at the county border with Devon.
- Settlements with a population over 2,500 are in bold.
- Abbotsbury, Allington, Alton Pancras, Askerwell
- Batcombe, Beaminster, Beer Hackett, Bettiscombe, Bincombe, Bishops Caundle, Bothenhampton, Bradford Abbas, Bradford Peverell, Bradpole, Bridport, Broadoak, Broadwindsor, Buckland Newton, Burstock, Burton Bradstock
- Castleton, Cattistock, Caundle Marsh, Cerne Abbas, Charminster, Charmouth, Chedington, Cheselbourne, Chetnole, Chickerell, Chideock, Chilfrome, Clifton Maybank, Compton Valence, Corscombe, Crossways
- Dewlish, Dorchester
- Fleet, Folke, Frampton, Frome St Quintin, Frome Vauchurch
- Halstock, Hermitage, Hilfield, Holnest, Holwell, Hooke
- Langton Herring, Leigh, Lillington, Littlebredy, Litton Cheney, Loders, Long Bredy, Longburton, Lyme Regis
- Maiden Newton, Marshwood, Melbury Bubb, Melbury Osmond, Melcombe Horsey, Minterne Magna, Mosterton
- Netherbury, Nether Compton
- Oborne, Osmington, Over Compton, Owermoigne
- Piddlehinton, Piddletrenthide, Portesham, Poundbury, Powerstock, Poyntington, Puddletown, Puncknowle, Purse Caundle, Pymore
- Rampisham, Ryme Intrinseca
- Sandford Orcas, Seaborough, Sherborne, Shipton Gorge, South Perrott, Stanton St Gabriel, Stinsford, Stoke Abbott, Stratton, Swyre, Sydling St Nicholas, Symondsbury
- Thorncombe, Thornford, Tincleton, Toller Porcorum, Tolpuddle, Trent
- Warmwell, West Bexington, West Knighton, West Stafford, Whitchurch Canonicorum, Winterborne Monkton, Winterborne St Martin, Winterbourne Abbas, Winterbourne Steepleton, Woodsford, Wootton Fitzpaine, Wraxall
Places of interest
- Abbotsbury Castle
- Abbotsbury Swannery
- Athelhampton House
- Chesil Beach
- Dorset Downs
- Eggardon Hill
- Golden Cap
- Hooke Court
- Jurassic Coast
- Kingston Russell
- Maiden Castle
- Pilsdon Pen
- Poundbury Hill
- Rampisham Down
- River Frome
- Sherborne Abbey
- Sherborne Castle
- Sherborne House
- The Tolpuddle Martyrs Museum