More Secret Places of West Dorset
by Louise Hodgson

‘It goes off the beaten track to cover folklore, curiosities, legends and history as well as churches, ancient trackways and enigmatic stones ... This little gem of a book demonstrates just how much there is to be discovered west of Weymouth. Some of these places are atmospheric simply because they are wild and empty; others have faint traces of some lost and mysterious past.’ These quotes from the first Secret Places of West Dorset conjure up the spirit of the book well. The sequel book offers further special places to discover.

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Mill Street, Dorchester – Thomas Hardy’s Mixen Lane
by David J. Forrester

As a follow-up to his highly successful first book Fordington Remembered: Growing Up in and Around Dorchester, David Forrester looks back at Mill Street, part of Fordington which had a reputation as a desperate place. Indeed, Thomas Hardy immortalised it in his novel The Mayor of Casterbridge with the name ‘Mixen Lane’. David’s book recalls the work of two local men who strove tirelessly to improve conditions for people living in this disadvantaged part of Dorchester – Reverend Henry Moule (vicar of Fordington) and A.H. Edwards (founder of the Mill Street Mission and Mill Street Housing Society). The book also contains interviews with those who lived there. Be transported into some very dark corners as this book brings to light and shares their memories.

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Lesser Known Christchurch
by Steve Roberts

According to Allan Wood (Communications Officer, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils): ‘This well-researched book will tell you things that you will probably not have known about Christchurch and its history. Of interest to visitors to the town as well as residents who may want to explore parts of the borough they don’t get to see very often. Dip into any part of this book to find a fascinating fact that will whet your appetite to know more about the town and some of its more colourful historical figures.’

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The Magic of Purbeck
by David Leadbetter

In a series of circular walks, this book combines all the elements that make Purbeck special, including local flora and fauna, history, archaeology, place names and their derivations, man-made and natural features, and local industries. Introductory chapters on Purbeck’s unique geology, natural history and local history set the scene for the carefully researched walks, which are sure to inspire you to get out there and enjoy the ‘magic’.


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Lesser Known Lyme Regis
by Joanna Smith

If you want a well-researched, comprehensive guide to Lyme Regis, look no further. This book delves into a side of Lyme you might not know. So much has been written about the town’s history, literary links, walking trails and fossils, but this book brings all these facets of the town together. It includes interviews with dozens of local people such as fishermen, artists, fossil hunters, historians and wreck divers, which give a real insight into contemporary Lyme and explain why it’s such a vibrant place to visit. With six easy-to-follow walks of discovery with maps, discover what makes Lyme special by going behind the scenes to appreciate this ‘Pearl of Dorset’. Like Lesser Known Weymouth and Lesser Known Swanage, two other titles in the series, the book will appeal to locals as well as visitors, taking you on a personal tour to reveal the quirkier side of Lyme Regis.

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Fordington Remembered: Growing up in and around Dorchester
by David Forrester

This book looks at the post-war era of food rationing, Lott and Walne’s heyday, local businesses and school-boy pranks. The book is part memoir part recollection of life in the 1940s/50s in a not very-advantaged part of Dorchester, known then as ‘the wrong end of town’. Local historian Terry Hearing says in the Foreword, ‘I enjoyed Dave’s memoirs immensely and heartily recommend the book as a valuable addition to our social history and as a jolly good read’.

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Paranormal Purbeck
by David Leadbetter

Containing first-hand experiences from over 100 people and featuring 70 different locations. The author’s intention is not to sensationalise but to present the accounts in an accurate and coherent way, and he makes an important distinction between ‘belief’ and ‘experience’: ‘The stories are about what happened to these people, not what they believe about something.’ Readers may form their own opinion, but it is David’s view that the case for the paranormal is overwhelming.

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The Portland Giant
by Carol Hunt

Fourth book in the hugely popular Portland Chronicles series, all based around Portland and Weymouth.

Beacons and lighthouses have lit Dorset’s shores since ancient times. In this final adventure, Isabel goes in search of a mysterious Roman boy, lost keeper of the old Lighthouse of Vindelis (Portland). On the way she tangles with ghostly highwaymen, cavaliers and her arch enemy the mermaid, and awakes the ancient Portland Giant, who sleeps at King Barrow.

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Preston, Bowleaze & Overcombe
By D. Joan Jones

A look at the history, growth and development of a local community. Through research undertaken at Weymouth Council and the Dorset History Centre and talking to local residents, Joan has uncovered a wealth of interesting information about the people, places and events that have shaped this area.

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She Opened the Door: The Wife and Women who Haunted Thomas Hardy
by Peter John Cooper

Mad, a medical case, menopausal or merely mortified by a malicious mother-in-law? Emma, Thomas Hardy’s first wife, has been largely misunderstood by biographers and academics alike. In the writing and production of She Opened the Door, a play about the women surrounding the Great Man, Peter John Cooper gives a more understanding view of Emma. She was undoubtedly eccentric, snobbish, self-centred and lacking in understanding but here was a woman imprisoned by society, circumstance and self-view within the high walls of the garden at Max Gate, the house that Thomas built for them both and which may have come to represent everything that was wrong with her life.


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Dorchester Remembers the Great War

by Brian Bates

Brian Bates’ book presents a vivid picture of Edwardian Dorchester, through the men and one woman who lost their lives in the First World War. According to Brian there was a huge military presence in the town, including a German POW camp. Brian says, ‘For me, real history is the story of the ordinary person and their communities, especially when they find themselves in extraordinary times. Most of the 98 images in the book have never been published before, as they were sourced from individual family archives. I really wanted to capture each personal story, and show how the families and town were together affected.’ His account of the impact of the War on a local community is an enjoyable trip into the past, particularly for those who love our county town.

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Dorset Voices: A Collection of New Prose, Poetry and Photographs

With enthusiastic support from HRH The Prince of Wales who wrote the Foreword, Dorset Voices is causing a stir among the literary community. We are thrilled that HRH has supported the project, describing it as “a splendid anthology” that “will give pleasure and inspiration to others”. That’s what it’s all about – introducing new writers and photographers to general readers, and provide a lasting product (a book) in which to showcase new talent. The 37 writers and 22 photographers are from diverse backgrounds, including young photographers from Thomas Hardye School. The contents reflect Dorset’s variety – dark, humorous, imaginative, reminiscent and socially aware – with something for everyone.

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Weymouth Bound
by Paul Weston

A local fiction story set in 1800. Jack Stone, a Portland smuggler’s son and apprentice on the merchant ship the Cicely, takes to the seas. The capture of the Cicely in the English Channel by the brilliant and ruthless Captain Morlaix leads to a desperate struggle, not just for Jack’s survival, but to prevent the French striking a damaging blow to the heart of the British Establishment.

This debut novel by Paul Weston takes you on an exciting historical journey from Weymouth, along the south coast, to London, Holland and France. Paul has extensive sailing experience, including a trip from New York to Lymington in a home-designed and built 26-ft boat.

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Kids' Dorset

by Sarah-Jane Forder

It’s a refreshingly simple idea. Ask children what their favourite places in Dorset are; visit them and test them out; if they get the kids’ approval, bingo! You’ve got the makings of Kids’ Dorset. Author Sarah-Jane Forder says, ‘Having a young daughter myself, I know how hard it is to inspire them with a walk or visit to “some boring grown-up place”. But just let them choose somewhere out of Kids’ Dorset and you’ll be laughing. Many of the places and activities are free, which is another bonus; it shows you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a day out together. My book takes the guesswork out of deciding what to do with the kids and highlights what’s great about Dorset.

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A Dorset Country Calendar
by Andy Case

This book looks at the Dorset countryside through the year. Written and illustrated by Andy Case, who touchingly describes the wildlife and bygone scenes around his home in Milton Abbas, the book transports the reader to a gentler place and time and passes on a greater appreciation of farming and our natural world.

Andy is also the author of Beautiful Pigs and Starting With Pigs. Though retired from full-time farming, he and his wife Maureen Case still keep Oxford Sandy and Black pigs (the largest breeding herd in the country) on their farm near Milton Abbas and regularly win prizes with them at county shows.

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Lesser Known Weymouth
by Julie Musk

This book reveals a quirkier side of Weymouth, with interviews with local people and walks of discovery. Rather like having your own personal guide, author Julie Musk describes what’s going on behind the scenes and shows you what makes Weymouth much more than just a beach resort – how the harbour operates, Thomas Hardy connections, sea rowing, places to take the kids, sand sculpting, RSPB reserves – they all add up to a great reason to visit and appreciate this ‘Olympic seaside town’.

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Portland Pirates
by Carol Hunt

The third book in The Portland Chronicles series.

A pirate ship is lost in time off the coast of Portland. Captain Red Pete, a cabin boy and smuggler Flintlock Groves arrive with the ghost ship, each with secret plans of their own. When Isabel befriends the lost cabin boy, she discovers that the sinister Portland mermaid is involved. With her sister Suzie running a cat rescue service and her home full of local climbers, Isabel sets out to unravel the mystery of the ghostly ship and its crew in this new Portland adventure

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Secret Places of West Dorset
by Louise Hodgson

Louise Hodgson has spent most of her life in the West Country. With her knowledge of the different aspects of the landscape and her experience of running Secret Landscape Tours, she is used to guiding people and ‘reading’ the environment. Louise says, ‘West Dorset offers huge rewards to those who care to explore beyond the well-known attractions. My book will help you find places that should provide deeply rewarding experiences. Beauty does not only lie in the eye of the beholder, it actually exists but sometimes needs seeking out!’ The book describes over 40 inspiring and less-frequented places to visit in West Dorset

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Defenders of Mai-dun - A Story of the Roman Assault on Maiden Castle

by David Macpherson

Defenders of Mai-dun is a novel about the invasion of Dorset by Vespasian and the Second Legion in the first century AD. The story follows the fortunes of a young orphan boy called Conn who lives on Maiden Castle and an inexperienced Tribune in the Roman army called Julius. As Vespasian’s soldiers sweep through the land of the Durotriges, Julius and Conn’s lives are intertwined with a compelling inevitability.
Historical and archaeological evidence is woven into the story, giving a sense of realism. The adventure concludes with the destruction of the Celtic settlement on Maiden Castle and the establishment of the Roman settlement at Dorchester (Durnovaria).
David is a retired history and Head teacher and has published many articles on local history. Defenders of Mai-dun, his first novel, was inspired by frequent visits to Maiden Castle to walk his dog and to the Dorset County Museum. He now works as a youth magistrate in Dorchester and is writing more novels set in the county.

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Enchantment of the Black Dog
by Carol Hunt

Second installment in the The Portland Chronicles series.

In Book 2, Isabel unravels the mystery of the legendary Black Dog of Portland. She travels across time to the Ice Age island of the snow wolves, and then into the heart of the Civil War on Portland in 1642. Isabel is joined by a local surfer called Ryder, a friendly Southwell fairy and a scruffy but loveable sheepdog called Gregor. Can she finally save the Black Dog from the sinister mermaid and discover his true identity


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Discover Old Swanage
by David Haysom

David Haysom is a local historian and Honorary Curator of the Swanage Museum. A lifelong resident, his book explores Swanage through old photographs following seven different routes around town. David says, ‘Most of the 350 photos, old advertisements and maps have never been published before. It’s a trip down memory lane, with photos of local people and businesses, some of whom/which are still around today. I really wanted to capture the story behind the photos and did a lot of research in order to provide detailed captions.’ Take the book out with you and find a new way of exploring old Swanage.

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The Portland Sea Dragon
by Carol Hunt

The first installment in the Portland Chronicles series.

What makes this book different to other children’s stories about dragons is that the author has done her homework and weaved local folklore, myths, history and a sense of place into her stories. This, her first book, is an intriguing mystery story based on a real local setting and giving a feel for what life was like in the 1600s. With three children of her own, Carol knows how to capture the imagination and imparts local history in an exciting and imaginative way. Read The Portland Sea Dragon and you’ll be hooked.

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The Spirit of Portland: Revelations of a Sacred Isle
by Gary Biltcliffe

Portland’s history, place-names and traditions reveal that long ago there was a high concentration of stone circles, standing stones, barrows and places associated with the Druids and early Christians. Living in relative isolation, with their own laws, the early Portlanders remained separate from the cultural influences, politics and religions of mainland Britain and only married within the island families. Right up until the early 20th century, the old islanders would teach their children the ancient history of Portland as handed down by their grandparents. Very few published books touch upon Portland’s sacred nature. This book reveals some of the island’s hidden mysteries, myths, legends, natural features and sacred geometry. Gary is an experienced traveller, has studied early cultures around the world and been intrigued by Portland for nigh on a decade. The book breaks new ground by combining a fascinating look at Portland’s archaeology, oral traditions, folklore and the old families, with a more intuitive approach to research. Included are several walking tours for those interested in exploring the island’s sacred places

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Lesser Known Swanage
by Julie Musk

Swanage still has that old-fashioned charm that Enid Blyton and Thomas Hardy wrote about, which gives it a different feel to neighbouring seaside resorts. Originally little more than a fishing village, cut off by the sea and out on a limb, it blossomed through the 1800s and 1900s with the stone trade and later holiday-makers. Now in the 21st century, what has Swanage got to offer visitors? What hidden gems will even locals find surprising and inspiring? This book brings Swanage alive and gives a real sense of place and time. As you begin to appreciate the history that has gone into building Swanage, the people and industry involved, you will see there is more to the town than meets the eye. Even families and young people will find Lesser Known Swanage intriguing and fun to take out and explore. Real, living people describe what it is that makes their town special and worth visiting.

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Roaring Dorset! Encounters with Big Cats
by Merrily Harpur

Are big cats roaming Dorset?
Whether you are a firm believer, open-minded or sceptical, Roaring Dorset! brings together 223 sightings of these impressive predatory animals, to help you make up your own mind. Conveniently grouped and mapped into 81 well-known locations it clearly shows, describes and tries to explain what has been seen around the county. In her very successful and highly acclaimed book Mystery Big Cats (published by Heart of Albion Press), Merrily Harpur provides a comprehensive study of the phenomenon nationwide. In Roaring Dorset! she focuses on her own county of Dorset. While the practical aspects are discussed in depth, she also offers a more other-worldly explanation for the strange sightings.

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A Slice of Apple Pie: Your One-Stop Guide to Living in America
by Julie Musk

Want to know what life in America is really like?
By giving you the lowdown on what to expect and how to deal with it, this thoughtful yet lighthearted book will help you get the most out of your move or visit to the USA. Combining practical information, anecdotes, history, geography, psychology and much more besides, in one entertaining read, A Slice of Apple Pie is essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about life in America

Please CLICK HERE for more information about the book.