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Dorset is a county in the South of England, United Kingdom. To the North it is largely rural with small towns and villages interspersed, whilst to the South on the coast it is dominated by the conurbation of Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole. The County Town is Dorchester, and Weymouth, the seaside town used for the Olympic sailing events and the tombolo Isle Of Portland, home of Chesil Beach, Portland limestone and Portland Cement, are also in Dorset. It is bounded to the West by Somerset, to the North by Wiltshire and to the East by Hampshire including the New Forest National Park and the Isle Of Wight.


By road, the principle routes are the A31, A35 and A337. There are no motorways in Dorset, the M27 ending in Hampshire to avoid damaging the New Forest. By rail, there are lines from London Waterloo through Hampshire's New Forest to Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole and then on to Dorchester and ending at Weymouth, and from Bristol Temple Meads via Yeovil in Somerset to Dorchester and Weymouth. By bus, there are long-distance services to London, the North, Exeter (Devon) and Salisbury (Wiltshire). Short distance public transport is of highest frequency around Bournemouth with the Yellow Buses and around Poole with More Buses. For cycling, there is a somewhat disjointed set of cycle paths undergoing gradual improvement scattered around the conurbation, some of which link up to a couple of longer-distance routes from Sustrans' National Cycle Network. On foot, within the towns and conurbation you'll be fine, but the rural areas do lack pavements.

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