Day 1 - Durnovaria and Dorchester
The Romans named the county town of Dorchester 'Durnovaria', and remnants of this era can still be found here. Following a Discover Dorchester Roman town trail and take in some of the sites dating from this time period. Colliton Park is the location of the archaeological remains of a Roman Town House discovered in the 1930s. The site has now been classified a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade 1 Listed Building. The nearby Dorset County Museum houses a large collection of Roman artefacts in its archaeology gallery, including beads, glassware, pottery and mosaics like those seen at the Roman Town House.
After lunch in one of the nearby eating establishments, take the short drive to Maiden Castle, an impressive Iron Age hill fort on the outskirts of Dorchester. The settlement was occupied from 4,000BC until the Roman Conquest of 60AD. The defences visible today date from around 800BC, when the fort was in the possession of the Durotriges, a powerful Iron-Age Celtic tribe.
Day 2 - Lyme Regis: Port to Resort
Take the 25 mile journey west from Dorchester to the seaside town of Lyme Regis. Rich in history, Lyme Regis is famous for the Cobb (its unique harbour), which was built in the thirteenth-century out of oak piles and boulders. This structure was replaced in the 1820s with one built out of local Portland stone which remains to this day.
A visit to the Lyme Regis Museum will provide further references to the town's history, including the Siege of Lymein 1644, and the landing of the Duke of Monmouth on the now aptly-named Monmouth Beach in 1685. Exhibitions also document Lyme's transition from port to resort during the eighteenth-century.
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