History and Heritage
The Dorset AONB offers some amazing glimpses back in time - real hands on history not dusty text book style.
The rocks that make up the AONB's beautiful landscape tell a fascinating story - of life on earth. The story is most easily read along the coast, which forms part of England's first natural World Heritage Site - the Jurassic Coast. While geology has been shaping this landscape for millions of years, for the last few thousand, people have been making their mark on it too. The stories of Dorset as a working and living landscape are all around you…
Wherever you are in the Dorset AONB, it is likely that you will be able to see something from the past - a hillfort, an interesting old building, a stone circle, or even a very large white giant!
Take a closer look and even small and seemingly insignificant features - a hump in a field, an old dry stone wall - can give you clues to how people lived and what they did here long ago.
In fact, the landscape we see today has been shaped by human activity over thousands of years. A lot of things that appear 'natural' are really the result of people's interactions with the land. This even includes some of our most important wildlife habitats. Heathland, for example, was created by prehistoric farmers.
But heritage isn't just about what we can see in the landscape. There's a rich cultural heritage of local customs and traditions that you can hear, touch and taste! A cultural heritage that not only tells us stories from the past but shapes the lives of people living here today.
In this section, you'll find some examples of our rich local heritage, where to go to see it and links to find out more.