Picturesque Villages in Dorset
Published: Tuesday 11th Feb 2014
Written by: The Original Cottages Team
The historic county of Dorset has much to recommend it to visitors. A coastline that has been designated a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, sweeping cliffs, and miles of beautiful rural tranquility make it a popular destination. However, just as important to the Dorset identity is the picturesque villages studded around the county. Below you’ll find five villages in Dorset you must visit.
Briantspuddle is a model village in the truest sense. Once a hamlet of twelve cottages, it benefitted from an agricultural experiment in between the two World Wars by Sir Ernest Debenham. He was seeking to prove that Great Britain could be self-sufficient and grow all the food it needed, and Briantspuddle became his giant petri-dish. Many buildings were constructed for the project and still stand today for you to see, block constructed cottages with immaculate thatch and mullion windows. The lanes of Briantspuddle are narrow and leafy, and the entire village has an air of quiet charm about it.
The beautiful White Corn Mill and impressive eight-arched bridge are the standout features of this large rural village by the River Stour. Resting in green pastoral lands, Sturminster Marshall is a delight if you’re looking for a picturesque village in Dorset that isn’t overrun by tourists. It boasts two triangular greens (one with a maypole!), half-timber frame cottages and a church dating back to medieval times.
The village of Corfe lies under the watchful gaze of one of the most famous castles in the country. Constructed at the time of William the Conqueror it has been the prison of Edward II, the storage place of King John’s crown jewels, and a vital part of England’s defences against the Spanish Armada. It’s final days came during the civil war when it was captured through treachery and destroyed. The ruins are an evocative reminder of times gone past, and many stones from the castle were used to construct houses in the village below. You’ll be able to see a steam railway puffing its way from Swanage through the streets, and the Ginger Pop shop, adding to the general feeling of nostalgia in one of the most historic villages in Dorset.
This pretty village in the Dorset countryside is famous for the Tolpuddle Martyrs, a group of early unionists who protested against their terrible working traditions. Despite unions being legal, they were arrested and six were transported to Australia for seven years. The event sparked off protests across the country (including a 800,000 strong petition) and they were finally released in 1836. Along with a museum and monuments to the martyrs for you to explore, the village has many thatched cottages and ancient trees, adding to its picturesque nature.
Frequently appearing high up on ‘Best Villages in England’ lists, let alone best villages in Dorset, Milton Abbas has many attractive features to draw the eye, though in comparison with many other villages it has the advantage of being almost completely rebuilt. The original town was demolished in 1780 because Lord Milton disliked it being so close to his great house. He then employed Capability Brown to construct a new ‘model’ village half a mile away. The 36 thatched cottages, built from cob, are evenly spaced along the central street, while wooded hills rise around them and the thousand year old Abbey is will worth you taking the half mile walk.