DORSET - NOW RECOGNISED AS BEING THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH

OFFICIAL

Prosecutor: May it please M’lud, we are bringing this case because the website natureandpictures.com repeatedly, repeatedly I say, states a fact that cannot be substantiated. I quote, ‘Dorset is the best county’. This nonsense must stop, it cannot possibly be correct in law. It is purely a subjective opinion, and as such, cannot be a ‘fact’. We also are fully aware, that Dorset is overpriced – look at Sandbanks; not only costlier than central London, but the third most expensive land in the world! The county has no mountains, no great cities, and er - - - - - - -

Furthermore, the defendant does not even consider other counties. Hampshire with the New Forest, its winter waders, chalk streams; Devon with those beautiful beaches, cream teas, Great Western Railway – I do not think I need elaborate any further. The statement is ridiculous, should never have been allowed, so not only are we are looking for a guilty verdict but a lengthy custodial sentence.

Judge: I quite agree. Couldn’t agree more. This is a cut-and-dried case, the defendant has refused to withdraw his ridiculous assertion, but by law, we are obliged to hear his defence. Sorry about that. So, Mr. Defendant, please proceed but make it quick. Although I must retain an open mind, in truth, you don’t stand an earthly. Hope you have brought your toothbrush.

Defendant: Thank you M’lud. The fact is; Dorset is the best county.

Prosecutor: Objection M’lud. I think we have heard enough. He is rambling on.

Judge: Agreed. Please now sum up.

Defendant: Okay. Hengistbury Head in the east is a dramatic headland, affords a panoramic view of Christchurch, Mudeford Quay and its famous beach huts, a nature reserve, and with a rich history dating back 10,500 years. If only we had writing from before the Romans. There are artefacts from the Stone Age, Bronze, Iron, Roman, Medieval until the present day. It used to be a prominent port, probably the most important of our island. Next to it, Stanpit Marsh, 3 minutes from the centre of Christchurch by car, is a renowned nature reserve, especially for its winter birds.

Christchurch is another beauty spot, and claims the largest Church in the UK, Priory Church, indeed, it is as large as our great gothic Cathedrals. It has an art deco Regency Theatre, a harbour with a bird sanctuary, and Like Poole Quays, it is renowned for its arts centres. Not too bad then.

Dorset is the best county for reptiles; the Smooth Snake is common on many of the heathlands, but virtually unknown outside of the county, and Britain’s rarest reptile. The heathlands of east Dorset are many and alive with Nightjars, reptiles, amphibians and birds.

On the vast cliffs which stretch for 7 miles either side of Bournemouth, we have the Green Lizard, unknown anywhere else in the UK, and here the Wall Lizards are abundant. On a sunny day, you could easily see a hundred. These Lizards have successfully bred here for many years, and were either escapes or came off boats from Southampton or Poole and found this haven of sun, insects and cover.

True, we do not have the New Forest, but in fact it is far closer to Bournemouth than my last address at Hayling Island, now is 15 minutes away.

Now then, have you ever been to the Isle of Purbeck? Beautiful rolling hills, along with St Andrews Golf Course, and Portsmouth Harbour, my favourite views anywhere, and please remember, I have the best taste of anyone. Those who differ have no taste. You can enter Purbeck on the chain Ferry which takes you over to Studland, a National Trust beach, famous for its dunes, spectacular views and seahorses, and cannot miss Old Harry Rocks which if taken on a straight line lead you over to the Needles on the Isle of Wight. Just a few thousand years ago, all the sea north of this was actually land.

Brownsea Island and the Isle of Purbeck has a ‘magical’ feel, resonance of Enid Blyton and the Famous 5, Red Squirrels, the birthplace of the Scout movement, and the quintessential seaside resort - Swanage - with its steam train which runs the most regular service of any other in Britain. This train actually runs into the centre of town.

A mile south, and you are at Durlston Head, a nature reserve, a spit of land ideal for migrating birds and even dolphins passing by, but also the start of the Jurassic Coast walk all the way to Exeter, a unique location awarded World

Heritage status. Here are the majestic sea cliffs, the main habitat that Hampshire lacks. Cliff-nesting seabirds are my favourites, being noisy, easy to see and dramatic, and maybe, because I could not see them in Hampshire. The strata levels are easily observed running parallel to the coastline, but will of a sudden twist and even go vertical, and there are fossils to be found of all sizes and differing periods. You may also take boat trips from Poole or Swanage to view this coastline, or maybe go to Old Harry Rocks, or take a trip around the Isle of Wight.

Travel around to the other side of Purbeck, and you arrive at Corfe Castle. Destroyed by Cromwell, the remains are unlike anywhere else.
There is a mystical quality as you spy it from a distance, perched on a hill, sometimes looking creepy, sometimes mystical, ethereal, spooky, dramatic, stunning, and when combined with the Swanage steam train, which passes close to, impossible to take a bad picture. Try it.

You can leave Purbeck to the west and visit one of our greatest nature reserves, Arne, and then the town of Wareham, a small self-contained beautiful market town, surrounded with large water meadows, another gem amongst the crown of Dorset. The land around Wareham is the best in our islands for the sheer quantity of wild flower species, about 350. The county has poor quality soil, thus not much farming is given over to arable crops, but poor soil equates to good wild flowers, the grass does not take over, and this in turn means more insects, thus more birds and other forms of wildlife. Why would anyone ever live anywhere else, ever? They would be stupid.

Poole is larger than Bournemouth and everyone should be forced to visit Poole Quay before death, preferably on a hot sunny day. Regular boat trips will take you far and near, and you do not need to book. The backdrop of Brownsea and the harbour is spectacular, there are a vast number of pubs, cafes and restaurants, and this area is famous for its arts, the biggest such centre outside of London, and its pottery. Poole is joined to Bournemouth with its 7 miles of sandy beach, spectacular cliff top walks, pine-saturated avenues, nature reserves galore, and all-in-all a highly recommended place to live. Why not move tomorrow?

After Sydney, Poole Harbour is the largest natural harbour in the world, and if you have the money, you too can have a seaview - Sandbanks or Canford Cliffs - but the rest of Dorset is not too bad for property price, well no, it is actually excellent value. Check it out on the internet – now. There are just so many apartments, the only way to sell is price. If you are a friend of mine, please check Zoopla and Rightmove, this article has all been understated. If you are an enemy of mine – don’t bother, this is all exaggeration.

Further west we come to Weymouth. One of the original seaside resorts, said to have the best sand in Britain, famous for its bay, its sand sculptures, Punch and Judy shows which I have witnessed since my infancy, and unique in having 2 nature reserves, Radipole and Lodmoor, right in the middle of the town.

Portland of course has the most famous stone in the kingdom, used in our finest buildings but because Portland Bill juts 9 miles into the sea this most southerly point of the mainland, it is probably the best migration spot to see birds coming and going, and because it is a spit, seabirds passing along the coastline, often give wonderful close-up views. All over Portland rare migrants can be seen, or 30,000 Swallows can pass overhead in a single day, and then there is the Observatory, where birds are netted and ringed. Again there are stunning views and walks along the Jurassic Coast.

I could go on for 100,000 words here; take boat trips to Guernsey or Jersey, there is an international airport in Bournemouth, – let me sum up - but bear in mindwe have not even covered the north of the County, and the land of Thomas Hardy, then there is the Tolpuddle Martyrs, historic Dorchester, Sherborne Castle, The Stour (otters inhabit the entire length of this river and Blandford Forum is the best place in Britian to photograph them as they are quite tame and come out during the day), there is wonderful Wimborne Minster, with its food festivals, huge markets, popular shopping centre with the Minster dominating the centre of the historic town, then Highcliffe Castle, Kingston Lacy, or to the west, Lulworth Cove, Abbotsbury with its Swannery and tropical gardens, Lyme Regis and Charlmouth, the home of fossilling and Mary Anning.

So, I will have none of it. Dorset is the greatest county – fantastic views, great for wildlife, Bournemouth, a new town and these days a very young town, full of events, societies all year round, with the best beaches in Britain. I rest my case your honour.

Prosecutor: Enought, I concede. I regret ever bringing this case. I am putting my house up for sale tomorrow, will accept any price and will move to Dorset immediately.

Judge: Not so fast you miserable git. I sentence you to 8 years, and you will not serve your time in luxurious Dorset. Case dismissed. Why did you bring this ridiculous prosecution in the first instance? Take him down. Sandbanks is obviously criminally underpriced, the whole county is as near to bliss as you can get. I’m moving there as will all sane people. Dorset is now, by statute, to be referred to as not only the greatest county, but officially, the ‘Greatest Place on Earth’.

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