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At 20 square miles, Christchurch is a small coastal Dorset district to the east of Bournemouth. This district was formed on 1 April 1974, by the merger of the old borough of Christchurch with part of Ringwood and Fordingbridge Rural District. It is traditionally Hampshire, but is now administratively and ceremonially in Dorset. Christchurch has a total population of approximately 45060 (2003), 80% of whom live in built up areas such as the town of Christchurch itself. 75% of the area of this district is covered by environmental designations.

East Dorset

East Dorset is the smallest rural district in Dorset, to the north of the conurbation of Poole and Bournemouth. Most of the 85000 people who live there, live in and around the main towns, Wimborne, Ferndown and Verwood and on the edge of the Poole and Bournemouth conurbation, leaving large areas of the district sparsely populated. This allows 87% of the district to be covered by environmental designations such as SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

North Dorset

North Dorset is the second largest district in Dorset. 50% of the population live in the main towns including Blandford, Gillingham, Shaftesbury and Sturminster Newton. The age structure for this district is not typical, with 16.2% aged between 15 and 29 years compared to the county’s average of 13.8%. This high proportion is due to the large number of communal establishments, 6% of the population live in prisons, boarding schools and armed forces bases.


Purbeck is a small but attractive rural district, to the south of North Dorset. This district includes landmarks like Corfe Castle, Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove which draw in a lot of tourists and visitors in the summer. This can cause problems on the small local roads but tourism does provide employment for 12% of the population. 60% of the 44800 people who live there live in the main towns including Wareham and Swanage. The other 40% live in small villages and rural areas of the district.

West Dorset

Covering the area from Dorchester to Lyme Regis and Sherborne, West Dorset is the largest district within Dorset at 418 square miles.  As a mainly rural district with a few market towns, the population density of West Dorset is relatively low, with a total population of approximately 94730.  53% of these people live in the towns with 47% living in the rural areas and villages.  78% of the distric

Weymouth and Portland

Weymouth and Portland is the smallest district in Dorset at 16 square miles but still has a population of 64460 people meaning it has the highest density of people in the County (though not as high as Bournemouth and Poole). Weymouth and Portland are well known for the quality of their beaches and both are popular tourist resorts in the summer. One of the highlights of the year is Weymouth Carnival, which takes place during the summer.


Bournemouth is a large coastal resort town in the county of Dorset, England. According to the 2001 Census the town has a population of 163,444, making it the largest settlement in Dorset. It is also the largest settlement between Southampton and Plymouth. With Poole and Christchurch Bournemouth forms the South East Dorset conurbation, which has a total population of approximately 400,000.


Poole is a large coastal town and seaport in the county of Dorset, on the south coast of England. The town is 32 kilometres (20 mi) east of Dorchester, and Bournemouth adjoins Poole to the east. The Borough of Poole was made a unitary authority in 1997, gaining administrative independence from Dorset County Council. The town had a population of 138,288 according to the 2001 census, making it the second largest settlement in Dorset.

South West England

Covering the whole of the South West of England, including: Bristol and Bath, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire and The Cotswolds, Isles of Scilly, Somerset & Wiltshire.

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