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Dorset's Top 11 Literary Links

1. Thomas Hardy

The 19th century novelist and poet is Dorset’s most famous literary son. Born at Higher Bockhampton, Hardy lived in Dorset for much of his life, its landscape forming the inspiration for his best known works. Many of the settings for his novels, as well as his idyllic thatched cottage birthplace and last home Max Gate (now both owned by the National Trust) can be visited today. There is a Hardy Trail which can be followed by car and takes the visitor on a timeless trail into Hardy's ‘Wessex’.


2. T.E. Lawrence

'Lawrence of Arabia' was based at Bovington army camp towards the end of his life. His retreat nearby, Cloud's Hill, is now owned by the National Trust and can be visited as well as his grave in nearby Moreton. The Lawrence of Arabia trail is available for you to download to explore the locations by foot.


3. Enid Blyton

The famous children’s books writer spent part of every year in the Purbeck area and many of the places in her books were inspired by locations in Dorset, in paticular the locations in her Famous Five novels. Follow the Enid Blyton trail to visit all of the iconic locations and explore the stunning Isle of Purbeck.


4. John Fowles

His famous novel, 'French Lieutenant's Woman', strongly featured both the fossils of the Jurassic Coast and Lyme Regis with its famous Cobb Harbour. In the movie you can see a spectacular scene of Meryl Streep on a moody and dramatic Lyme Regis Cobb. Guided John Fowles tours are available in the town.


5. Jane Austen

Part of her novel ‘Persuasion’ was set in Lyme Regis and three screen adaptations of have used Lyme Regis as a filming location: the 1971 BBC mini-series, the 1995 film starring Amanda Root, and the 2007 TV adaptation starring Sally Hawkins. Guided Jane Austen tours are available in the town.


6. Ian McEwan

‘On Chesil Beach’ was written about a honeymooning couple staying on the famous barrier beach. The novel has recently been adapted into a powerful drama starring Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle, set for release in June 2018. Filmed exactly where the story was based upon, the unique area of coastline lies at the centre of the Jurassic coast World Heritage Site.

7. John Meade Faulkner

The classic novel ‘Moonfleet’ by was based in the Chesil Beach area. In 2013, the story which begins with an orphan in the coastal town of Moonfleet, Dorset was adapted into a film starring Ray Winstone, Aneurin Barnard and Sophie Cookson.


8. William Barnes

Friend of Thomas Hardy and T.E.Lawrence, poet William Barnes famously wrote in Dorset dialect celebrating the unique language which was around from the time of Shakespeare until the arrival of railways and London’s language. Like other writers and poets, William was also inspired by Dorset’s stunning and diverse landscape which is found within his renowned poetry.


9. Charles Dickens

Dickens found the names Snodgrass and Wardell used in ‘Pickwick Papers’ on memorials at Wimborne Minster.


10. Cecil Day Lewis

The Poet Laureate of 1968 is buried in Stinsford cemetery.


11. Tracy Chevalier

The Girl With a Pearl Earring author has written about the life of Mary Anning and Elizabeth Philpott (who put Lyme Regis on the map for fossil hunting) in her book “Remarkable Creatures”.

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