Ten miles west of Abbotsbury is the pretty town of BRIDPORT, mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and an important port before the rivers silted up in the early 1700s, leaving it stranded a mile or so inland today. It’s a pleasant old town of solid brick buildings with very wide streets, a hangover from its days as a major rope-making centre when cords were stretched between the houses to be twisted and dyed. Today, it’s a lively market town (Wed and Sat) with an arty, alternative vibe. The town’s harbour lies a mile or so south at West Bay, which has a fine sandy beach sheltered below majestic red cliffs – the sheer East Cliffs are a tempting challenge for intrepid walkers.

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