Things to do - West of Casterbridge Accommodation, Dorchester

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At the height of the season when Weymouth's beach and its fine Regency villas are all but lost to the hordes of happy holiday-makers Abbotsbury is a quieter option. Take the road over Blackdown and pull in by Hardy's Monument to enjoy the panorama before you cross to the little road to Gorwell. Here is a peaceful picnic spot with the most scenic approach to Abbotsbury village. In the village, there is an enviable choice of local crafts, pleasant walks, sub-tropical gardens, beach and of course the Swannery.

Hardy's MonumentWest BayLyme Regis

The spectacular view back along the Fleet from the top of Abbotsbury Hill, takes in St Catherine's Chapel, Chesil Bank and Portland and is worth another stop before you leave for West Bay (of 'Harbour Lights' fame), Bridport, Charmouth (with its fossil beach)The Cobb. and Jane Austen's Lyme Regis, with the famous Cobb as featured in 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'. Detour back through Whitchurch Canonicorum to discover the plaintiff notes concealed beneath the church altar, seeking healing from a Danish Saint. Clamber up to Pilsdon Pen to for the best of the rural scene. Take a leisurely stroll around mellow Beaminster, or pause at Powerstock before you return along the single track road over lonely Eggardon. Prince Charles' model village of Poundbury lies to your right as you come back into town - high density housing with a difference!