|The wonderful Victorian hall in the Dorchester museum|
Saturday, 12 August 2017
This month I walked part of the Wessex Ridgeway in Dorset ending up in Lyme Regis. Of course, Dorset's main literary claim to fame is that it was the home county of Thomas Hardy (his study is preserved in the museum in Dorchester).
However the county also has associations with Jane Austen who visited Lyme and set some of her novel, Persuasion, there. The town retains its Regency charm and also has a garden dedicated to her memory.
On the same trip, avoiding the rain (a lot of it!) had the advantage of making me take shelter in the county museum in Dorchester. Dorset is rich in archeology and the museum has many finds from Roman times and earlier. The famous Jurassic coast has, over the years, yielded up a remarkable number of fossils including the skull of a pliosaur, a type of plesiosaurus with a massive head and particularly powerful jaws. Found in 2007 by an amateur fossil collector, it is now on display in the museum. The skull is well over two metres long and experts believe the whole dinosaur would have been at least 15 metres long. They estimate that its jaws would have been powerful enough to snap a small car in two.