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Town factsheets and profiles of larger settlements

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Factsheets bringing together information on the towns in Dorset, together with profiles of 15 other large settlements.

The factsheets give the key figures for towns and larger settlements from a wide variety of sources such as the 2011 Census, recent crime data, the latest housing and population figures through to employment and retail data.

  • Alderholt Alderholt town profile

    Alderholt is a small settlement of around 3,000 population in the north east of Dorset.

  • Beaminster Beaminster town profile

    The small country town of Beaminster lies in a valley five miles to the north of Bridport in the attractive West Dorset countryside. This market town provides a good range of services and light industry while retaining considerable charm and historic interest.

  • Bere Regis Bere Regis town profile

    Bere Regis is a large village of nearly 1,800 people in central southern Dorset.

  • Blandford Blandford Forum town profile

    Blandford enjoys the twin benefits of being located within forty minutes drive of the Bournemouth and Poole conurbation while retaining its traditional market town character, embellished by its Georgian centre. The town is the administrative centre of North Dorset and provides a range of shopping, health, education and sporting facilities.

  • Bridport Bridport town profile

    Bridport is internationally known for its rope making industry which stretches back to Roman times. The town has its own brewery, a medieval parish church, a weekly market and some 1,000 listed buildings. The town has several industrial estates, including a greenfield site at Gore Cross.

  • Burton Burton village profile

    Burton is situated some 2 miles north-east of Christchurch town centre. Older parts of the village date back to at least the early 18th century but it was greatly expanded in the 1970s. Today there are more than 1,800 dwellings and the population is around 4,200.

  • Charminster Charminster/Charlton Down town profile

    Charminster Parish has two major settlements within it. Firstly the older village of Charminster to the south with it's population of about 1,500 and secondly the new village of Charlton Down.

  • Bennett's Water Garden Chickerell town profile

    Chickerell is an urban area developed from a smaller village located just to the west of Weymouth. The area has seen rapid development over the past twenty years and now has a town council.

  • Christchurch Christchurch town profile

    Christchurch is an attractive town with its own distinctive character set on the edge of Bournemouth. The town centre, with its priory and riverbank setting is probably familiar to many of the visitors who come to the town and has a large thriving business base with over 1,200 companies.

  • Colehill Colehill town profile

    Colehill is a large settlement of nearly 7,000 inhabitants, which lies between Wimborne Minster and Ferndown.

  • Corfe Castle Corfe Castle town profile

    Corfe Castle is an attractive village built up around the famous castle in the gap in the Purbeck hills.

  • Corfe Mullen Corfe Mullen town profile

    Corfe Mullen is a large village of just over 10,000 population, situated on the north-western urban fringe of the Poole-Bournemouth conurbation. Although set on the edge of an urban area, Corfe Mullen is surrounded by the Green Belt and forms part of the rural district of East Dorset.

  • Crossways Crossways town profile

    Crossways is a large village about 6 miles east of Dorchester, with a population of just over 2,000

  • Dorchester Dorchester town profile

    This historic county town of Dorchester was the 'Durnovara' of the Romans and the fictional Casterbridge of Thomas Hardy's novels. The town has a busy shopping centre, a flourishing market and is a major employment centre for the surrounding area.

  • Ferndown Ferndown town profile

    Ferndown is the largest settlement in East Dorset. It's town centre houses a modern shopping complex, large playing fields and sports facilities, and internationally famous Ferndown Golf Club.

  • Gillingham Gillingham town profile

    Gillingham is the most northerly town in Dorset and in the last twenty years, has grown particularly rapidly and been successful in attracting a variety of new industries. Gillingham is important as a service and shopping centre for the surrounding villages.

  • Lyme Regis Lyme Regis town profile

    Lyme Regis is the most westerly town in Dorset and is a small coastal resort set in a Coombe beside a wide bay. Its central streets are full of charming buildings including several from the late eighteenth century. The modest esplanade and the Cobb are at the heart of the town's holiday attractions - bathing, sailing and sea-fishing are all enjoyed here.

  • Lytchett Matravers Lytchett Matravers town profile

    Lytchett Matravers is a predominately dispersed settlement around a village centre with around 3,500 residents 5 miles from the centre of Poole.

  • Upton Wood entrance Lytchett Minster/Upton town profile

    Lytchett Minster and Upton are located to the north west of the town of Poole. Lytchett Minster is a small rural village, whereas Upton is a much larger suburban area, built up significantly during the 1970s and 1980's. Upton has its own facilities including a variety of shops and a library.

  • Marnhull Marnhull town profile

    Marnhull is a large village with a population of just under 2,000 in the northern part of Dorset. It lies in the Blackmoor Vale 3 miles north of the small town of Sturminster Newton.

  • Portland Portland town profile

    Portland extends south from the main Dorset coast beyond Weymouth and is attached to the mainland by a narrow stretch of the famous Chesil Beach.

  • Shaftesbury Shaftesbury town profile

    Shaftesbury is one of the oldest towns in England. The town overlooks the Blackmore Vale, and combined with its history and architectural character, it is certainly one of the most attractive.

  • Sherborne Sherborne town profile

    Sherborne is an interesting historic town. Dominated by its Abbey, it has many fine buildings of architectural note, including the 17th Century Sherborne Castle.

  • Stalbridge Stalbridge town profile

    Stalbridge is Dorset's smallest town and stands in the Blackmore Vale, close to the Somerset border.

  • St Leonards and St Ives St Leonards and St Ives town profile

    St Leonards is a parish of 7,200 residents on the eastern county boundary of Dorset, close to the town of Ringwood.

  • Sturminster Marshall Sturminster Marshall town profile

    Sturminster Marshall is a parish of 1,969 population in East Dorset, situated on the River Stour between Blandford Forum and Poole.

  • Sandford Sandford town profile

    Sandford, a settlement of just under 3,000 to the North east of Wareham, has grown significantly since 1960.

  • Sturminster Newton Sturminster Newton town profile

    Sturminster Newton is an historic market town. Much of Sturminster's economy is based on agriculture but it does have a thriving industrial estate. To the west of the town a major new area of land has been earmarked for employment use. In addition, land is available for housing in the town.

  • Swanage Swanage town profile

    Swanage combines the attractions of an old-world town and an up-to-date seaside resort. It is set at the eastern end of the Isle of Purbeck, with its bay extending from the cliffs at Ballard Point to Peverill Point.

  • Verwood Verwood town profile

    Verwood is a rapidly expanding town situated in the north-east of the county, with a current population of nearly 15,000. Situated amid heathlands, it was originally known as Fayrewood. Historically, one key industry in the area was the famous Verwood Potteries, but much of the current local employment is based around the modern Ebblake Industrial Estate.

  • Wareham Wareham town profile

    Wareham occupies a strategic site on both the Rivers Frome and Piddle, close to their confluence into Poole Harbour. Its grid like pattern could be a sign of Saxon origin and it still stands within the compass of its earth ramparts. Despite its relatively small size Wareham retains a good range of social, recreational and educational facilities.

  • West Moors West Moors town profile

    West Moors is a pleasant settlement located in Eastern Dorset, approximately 10 miles from Bournemouth with a population of around 7,500. It is predominately a residential area set upon what was once a moorland, hence it's name.

  • Weymouth Weymouth town profile

    Weymouth has been a significant port since medieval times and a major seaside resort since the 18th Century. Weymouth and Portland hosted the sailing events for the 2012 Olympic games.

  • Wimborne Wimborne town profile

    An ancient and historical market town, Wimborne is the main centre for the district of East Dorset.

  • Wool Wool town profile

    A large parish with a population of just over 5,300. Around 2,500 of the residents are based at Bovington Army Camp, separate from the village but within the parish.

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